Primary healthcare will be first priority which will improve our Health Indicators-Dr. Zafar Mirza

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ICHPE 2019 by University of Lahore-1
Primary healthcare will be first priority which
will improve our Health Indicators-Dr. Zafar Mirza
Gaps in human resources have been picked up
alongwith many other issues We as a university have
responsibility to maintain standards - Prof.Shahid Malik

LAHORE: We are focusing on Universal Health Coverage. Primary healthcare will be the first priority which will help improve our health indicators. We have identified gaps in human resources and have also picked up many other issues while a National Nursing policy is also being developed. This was stated by Advisor to the Prime Minister on Health Dr. Zafar Mirza. He was speaking in the inaugural session of the Third International Conference on Health Professions Education organized by University of Lahore from 4-6, 2019. The conference attracted medical educationists from all over the country besides many delegates from overseas.

Dr. Zafar Mirza commended the University of Lahore for the role it was playing in the field of medical education. They have picked up a rare subject which is not often discussed but is very important. He offered all the help and assistance from the government of Pakistan to promote Health Professions Education in Pakistan. He also appreciated the positive trend wherein private medical universities are coming forward and picking up important subjects. Patient safety, he said was yet another important issue which is being ignored. We in Pakistan has been left behind in the field of medical education for many years as no attention to was paid. We do not know the number of doctors, nurses we need. Without human resource and a health policy how one can run a reliable healthcare delivery system, he asked. He also gave details of the health reforms agenda of the government. We have fixed certain targets and one of them was upgrading the nursing procession. We need to tackle the issue of high maternal, infant mortality, stunting of children, and iron deficiency anaemia in pregnant women. Our medical education has failed to develop medical graduates keeping in view the community requirements. We first have to identify the problems and then deal with them.

Continuing Dr. Zafar Mirza said that Health Professions Education was a part of healthcare set up. We are working on social health insurance scheme whereby cost effective healthcare will be made available. Those who cannot afford will be provided Sehat Card and we will also buy health services from the private sector. We plan to train the one lac eighty thousand lady health visitors, make the basic health unit functional and then have a proper referral system linking them with secondary and tertiary care facilities. We will invest in medical education. Iran has a good primary health care and medical universities are playing a vital role in this. We will benefit from their experience.

Each medical college and medical university, he further stated, should have a Dept. of Medical Education headed by qualified professionals. PM&DC had become a den of corruption, hence it was dissolved and is being replaced with a new set up. We will have National Medical Dental Academic Board which will set standards in medical education. It will also review undergraduate medical education in Pakistan. We will concentrate on training of General Practitioners. We need to invest in Family Medicine. We should have six months to one year’s duration courses for the family physicians to build up their professional capacity. These programmes are being offered in many countries and are recognized by WHO. We will create specialist positions for Family Medicine in our health care set up and we will utilize the services of GPs, Family Physicians, he added.

Earlier Prof. Shahid Malik Rector Health Sciences at UOL in his speech said that University College of Medicine and Dentistry at UOL has made unprecedented progress ever since its inception in 2002. It was possible only due to good hard work of the top management. We have a 450-bed affiliated teaching hospital and we have performed numerous Paediatric open heart surgeries so far besides offering facilities for dialysis. We have a proper functional Dept.of Medical Education. Some years ago we started Masters Programme in Medical Education and so far nine batches have qualified. Requirements for medical teaches today have changed. We need doctors which can practice anywhere in the world and it is only possible if we meet requirements set by General Medical Council of UK and World Federation of Medical Education. We as a university have responsibility to maintain standards and protect it from being colonized. It is feared that in the present uncertain circumstances GMC may refuse to register Pakistani medical graduates. We need to focus on training and provision of excellent resources.

Prof. Mujahid Kamran Rector University of Lahore in his address said that we have treated two hundred Paediatric cardiac surgery cases free of cost so far. UMDC is making good progress. It is included in the top five medical colleges of the province. Turkey, Pakistan and Iran, he said, were the three most important Muslim countries which are at present being made a special target. Those who do not value education and proper training are doomed. We have to pay attention to create knowledge and the countries which will fail to do so will suffer, he remarked.

Dr. Mahwish Arooj Vice Principal of UMDC and Director Medical Education said that we have organized twenty five pre-conference workshops on various topics in different medical institutions in Lahore which were attended by over five hundred participants. We have a passion to improve medical education in Pakistan and so far we have trained three hundred sixty doctors who have completed Certificate in Medical Education courses, she remarked.

Prof. Rehan Khan Chairman of Scientific Committee of the conference giving details of the programme said that it covers two plenary sessions, two symposiums, What the Experts Say session besides a panel discussion on current changes in the medical education in Pakistan and its effects.