off record
Shaukat Ali Jawaid

Visiting Professorship
at medical universities


We have seen a mushroom growth of medical and dental colleges both in public as well as private sector during the last few years. One of the most important problems which they face is acute shortage of well trained and experienced teachers. While it is essential that every medical and dental college, university must have some minimum full time staff as per the requirements laid down by the regulatory bodies but at the same time they can also use the expertize available within the country by having some visiting professors who can fill up this gap to a great extent.

In the last 60s and even up to early 80s, we used to have some visiting consultants in various public hospitals but then some problems surfaced and this practice had to be abandoned. Some of the not so well trained and incompetent medical teaches who somehow had got selected in these public sector medical institutions felt threatened with their presence in their unit’s though they used to be there just for a short time. The medical students as well as patients had an option to compare the competence and abilities of both groups of consultants and teachers. Though they enjoyed no rights to admit patients in the ward but they did use to conduct Out Patients Departments as well referring those who need admission to the concerned staff besides taking ward rounds along with the full time staff.

In the present circumstances, we need to revive this visiting consultant, professorship so as to improve not only the patient care but teaching and training of students, postgraduates as well. These medical institutions in general and medical universities in particular can also enter into collaboration programmes with medical institutions overseas and provide Honorary jobs to those who wish to contribute their share in improving the present state of affairs in the country. There are a large number of Pakistanis consultants serving overseas many of whom will be willing to spend a week or ten days every year back home to teach, train, examine and manage patients. Since the institutions won’t have any obligation but to pay them due respect and recognize their services, such an arrangement can be highly cost effective to benefit from the Pakistani talent overseas. Some of them may be infected with the materialistic virus who might ask or expect some financial benefits, they can be ignored but there will be many who are keen to pay back something to their country by whatever means they can and this visiting faculty programme can be one of them.

Some medical universities both in public and private sector have already started signing Memorandum of Understanding (MOUs) with some medical institutions, centers of excellence including medical universities abroad for collaboration in the field of academics. This collaboration can be further enlarged by including students and faculty exchange programmes, collaborative research projects. The world is changing fast and in order to keep pace with these developments, our leadership in the medical institutions, medical universities in particular need to create and grab such opportunities. Instead of playing politics let us all think positively and make use of every opportunity, facility available to achieve our objective of improving the patient care as well as medical education.

Tail Piece: Travel is a fantastic self-development tool.

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