UHS planning to form Task Force on Psychiatry to improve mental healthcare

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Conference on Prescription for Wellness
UHS planning to form Task Force on
Psychiatry to improve mental healthcare
Psychiatry is an important component of
Medicine - Prof. Javed Akram

LAHORE: Prof. Javed Akram Vice Chancellor of University of Health Sciences has suggested that a Task Force on Psychiatry should be formed so that it gives suggestions to improve mental healthcare by making appropriate changes in the undergraduate and postgraduate medical curriculum. He was speaking at the concluding session of International Psychiatric Conference on “Prescription for Wellness” organized by Dept. of Psychiatry & Behavioural Sciences Fatima Memorial Hospital in collaboration with KEMU, NUR International University and Pakistan Association of Social Psychiatry held here from 2-3rd August 2019.

Continuing Prof. Javed Akram said that we all need to be well so that we can look after the patient’s well which will ensure their health as well as happiness. Majority of the patients suffer from some sort of mental disorders. Depression and anxiety are very common hence it is important that every doctor should know how to manage these patients and treat depression, anxiety and also know when and to whom the patients should be referred for further work up and specialist care if need be. He suggested Prof. Imran Ijaz Haider Chairman of the Organizing Committee of the conference to form the Task Force by inviting mental healthcare professionals who can contribute and come up with the suggestions so that appropriate changes in the curriculum can be initiated.

He further stated that we cannot do much about genetics but we can effectively handle stress and strains of life. This year eighty nine thousand students are appearing in the Medical and Dental Colleges Examination test and competing for just three thousand seats in Punjab. Not only the candidates but their parents are also suffering from stress. However, it is also a fact that stress improves your performance but if stress persists for long, it can be dangerous, hence it is advisable not to be over stressed. We all must know how to work under stress and it is up to the experts and Peers to guide the healthcare professionals on these issues. We being Muslims have full faith in Holy Quran and there are many things which we cannot change in life. Hence, why to take stress and why regret, he asked? Meditations, prayers, Zikar are all helpful. When we do Zikar, we forget all other things and studies have showed that it reduces the systolic blood pressure by 25% and diastolic blood pressure by 7%. Heart rate also improves but it is important that one must believe in these things.


Prof. Javed Akram VC UHS and Prof. Saulat Siddique Associate Dean from Fatima
Memorial Hospital (Guest of Honour) presenting mementoes to Dr. Nazish Imran
organizing secretary of the conference on left and Dr. Mohammad from UK.
Prof. Imran Ijaz Haider Chairman of the organizing committee is also seen in the center.

Prof. Javed Akram further added that it has been proved that post prayer blood pressure lowering affect remains for two and a half hours. Counselling for myocardial infarction patients results in better reduction in heart rate. It is also well known that almost 50% of women suffer from depression. Hence we need to work on prevention of these disorders. It is up to the psychiatrists to guide us so that we can reduce the worries of housewives as well as working women. Healthy women will ensure healthy kids. Universities are required to work together with professionals. Reforms are needed and we will introduce the reforms on your guidance. We are introducing many other sub-specialties at the University of Health Sciences, let us sit together and have a look at the curriculum. Almost 50% of stress is work related which can be prevented. We cannot have good physicians unless they also know some basic psychiatry as it is an essential component of medicine. We all must know where the physicians and GPs should refer the patients suffering from serious mental health disorders, he added.

Earlier Prof. Saulat Siddique an eminent cardiologist who is Associate Dean Clinical Affairs at Fatima Memorial Hospital who was the Guest of Honour in the concluding session also briefly addressed the meeting. He commended the innovations in the scientific programme. Others who also briefly spoke on this occasion included Prof. Waqar Azeem, Dr. Unaiza Niaz. Later mementoes were presented to some of the guests and speakers.

Memorial Session

Earlier during the day a special session was devoted to pay tributes to two leading psychiatrists Prof. Ijaz Haider and Prof. M. Sharif who passed away during the last few months. A number of speakers recalled their services to promote the discipline of psychiatry and improve mental health in the country. This session which was named “You Made Us” was moderated by Prof. Imran Ijaz Haider son of Prof. Ijaz Haider and himself now a renowned psychiatrist.

Prof. Yusufzai recalled that Prof. Ijaz Haider was very supportive and caring, affectionate personality. Prof.Khalid Mufti said he learnt interpretation of EEC from Prof. Ijaz Haider. I learnt a lot from him how to train the primary healthcare professionals to look after patients. He started DPM programme at Postgraduate Medical Institute Lahore which produced many psychiatrists. He also highlighted the importance of traditional values, religion and culture which help a lot in managing the mental diseases.

Prof. Farid Aslam Minhas said that Prof. Ijaz Haider was fond of ambitious use of medications. He used to use ECT as an effective treatment modality as well as Lithium. DPM he felt was good for many doctors who cannot do Fellowship as it helps improve mental health care in low income countries. This, he felt, was also the real answer to the needs of Pakistan. His interaction with Family Physicians was wonderful. Similarly late Prof. Sharif was also a legend in the field of psychiatry who deserve to be commended and such events should be organized more frequently. They were the real pioneers in the field of psychiatry, he added.

Dr. Robina commended the motivation of Prof. Ijaz Haider and Prof. Sharif who used to become too much involved with their patients and they did a lot for the promotion of psychiatry.

Dr. Unaiza Niaz another eminent psychiatrist sharing her feelings said that both of them gave me too much respect. They were good souls and we see all these qualities in their children. Prof. Ijaz Haider in particular was a wonderful role model. Prof. Mazhar Malik opined that they were the legends and leaders in psychiatry who encouraged the young doctors to take up this specialty. Dr. Azhar Hussain said that Prof. Ijaz Haider was a wonderful teacher who taught us how to treat the patients affectionately. Others who also spoke on this occasion included Dr. Imran, Dr.Qasim Brohi, Dr. Capitan Jamil and Dr. Ajmal Kazmi. A recorded message from Prof. Khalida Ijaz Tareen was also shown to the participants wherein she remarked that both Prof. Ijaz Haider and Prof. Sharif changed the face of Psychiatry in Pakistan.

Rehabilitation and
Social Psychiatry Session

This session was chaired by Prof. Mazhar Malik alongwith Dr. Humaira Saeed and Dr. Attiya Inam. Dr. Ajmal Kazmi from Karachi was the first speaker who talked about rehabilitation practices. Psychosocial rehabilitation, he opined, is a multidisciplinary teamwork but this approach was lacking in Pakistan in the past. Now numerous developments have taken place and the situation was much better. Every patient, he further stated, is an individual and what level he or she can achieve is also different. Treatment must be tailor made for individual patient. We need to work how the patients can cope with their illness, eliminate their functional deficit. We need to overcome eventual barriers and create new progress. Treatment modalities consists of combination of science and art which ensures patients recovery. He also talked about community integration, improvement of quality of life of the patients and the goals of psychiatric rehabilitation. We need to involve the patient in their treatment, assess their need for a change, create emotional and self-awareness. Closeness to practice has more chances of recovery of the patients. Rehabilitation diagnosis is based on rehabilitation goals. He laid emphasis on evidence based practice, supported employment, proper medication management, personal recovery and progress. All this requires four to eight weeks session with trained practitioners. We must inspire people to become hopeful. Different modules are covered in different courses. He also talked about the teaching strategies, listen to the patient, and motivate the patients. Patients not only need sympathy but empathy was much more important. We must ensure the patients that we know and understand their problems.


Picture from (L to R) shows Prof. Javed Akram Vice Chancellor University of Health Sciences
(Chief Guest), presenting mementoes to invited guest speakers from Qatar Prof. Waqar Azeem,
Dr. Felicia Watt and other speakers while picture on right shows Prof. Saulat Siddique (Guest of Honour)
presenting mementoes to Dr. M. Ali Rawi from UK and Dr. Munazza Ali from Qatar in the concluding session
of Int. Psychiatric Conference  
on “Wellness for Prescription: Working Across Boundaries”
held at Lahore form 2-3rd August 2019.

Prof. Mazhar Malik in his presentation spoke about social psychiatry as a national movement which can change our psychiatric practice. He highlighted that goal of effective treatment should be enabling holistic recovery and not mere reemission of the active symptoms.

Prof. Zahid Mehmood focused on wellness as a goal of health. Prof. Mamoona Mushtaq talked about psychosocial factors of addiction and impediments after rehabilitation. Prof. Khalid Mufti discussed the importance of spirituality and its role in mental healthcare. Prof. Shahida Batool spoke about the caregivers’ issues in dealing with patients of dementia. Health, she stated, in its true sense was moving towards prevention rather than treatment. It is extremely important that brighter minds should come together at such conferences and create awareness about the importance of mental health and promote those institutions which are working in finding solutions to our problems in this field.

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