PHL 21st Symposium organizers introduce numerous innovative changes in the scientific programme


 Prof. Saulat Siddique takes over as new President of PHL

PHL 21st Symposium organizers introduce
numerous innovative changes in the
scientific programme

Medical Students make tremendous contributions to the
organizational efforts besides highlighting preventive
aspects to control High Blood Pressure

WHF has set a very ambitious target of 25% reduction in mortality
in heart diseases by 2025 through reduction in hypertension,
salt intake, smoking and increase in exercise
which we can follow-Prof. Hafeez Chaudhry

From our correspondent

FAISALABAD: The City of Faisalabad has always been an excellent venue for the Pakistan Hypertension League meetings and the tradition was set by Prof. Abdul Hafeez Chaudhry former Prof. of Medicine at Punjab Medical College by holding an excellent meeting including a Public Awareness Session many years ago. However, this year Prof. Ahmad Bilal and his team who organized the 21st Annual Symposium of PHL here from February 23-25th not only kept up those traditions but also introduced many innovative changes in the scientific program which will not be easy to follow for the organizers of the future meetings.

Unlike most of the meetings of the PHL as well as other professional specialty organizations which look like a Health Mela, Pharmaceutical Bazars and a social get-together of healthcare professionals with their families, the PHL symposium held at Faisalabad was a unique exception with tremendous emphasis on the quality of the scientific programme, making it highly interesting and informative for the participants. A large number of final year medical students from Punjab Medical College were involved who did a commendable job not only in the organizational efforts but also participating in the scientific deliberations, decorating the meeting venue with useful information highlighting the risk factors for hypertension. Prof. Ahmad Bilal and his team has set such a high standard for the meeting that the future organizes will have to work hard to match this.

The symposium started with a public awareness session which was organized at the Faisalabad Medical University Auditorium which was very well attended. Some of the streets in the city had banners, posters displayed with useful information regarding healthy diet, benefits of regular exercise, reduced intake of salt, reduce intake of fats, regular checkup of blood pressure, adherence to doctors’ advice, benefits of compliance with drug therapy etc.

Prof. Iqbal Zafar Vice Chancellor of Agricultural University of Faisalabad was the chief guest at the inaugural session who read his speech and highlighted the importance of simple and contented life style, avoiding complications of high blood pressure i.e. heart attacks, heart failure, renal failure and stroke.

Prof. Abdul Hafeez Chaudhry President of Pakistan Hypertension League in his address traced the history of formation of PHL twenty years ago. Early diagnosis of hypertension and timely treatment, he stated, helps in avoiding serious complications. During all these years PHL has been concentrating on creating awareness among the public, health education and promoting preventive measures. Despite the fact that efforts to combat hypertension has grown significantly, we are not fully satisfied as yet. Control of hypertension, Prof. Hafeez Chaudhry said was still major problem and leading cause of morbidity and mortality. Stroke and heart failure are among the leading cause of death in Pakistan. Majority of the population do not know they are suffering from high blood pressure and majority of those who know, do not take medications regularly. They stop taking the drugs as soon as they feel better or due to financial cost. At times taking too many drugs leads to serious side effects, hence the overall compliance with drug therapy remains poor. It is a pity that just 6-7% of our population suffering from hypertension are able to achieve their target blood pressure even after treatment. World Heart Federation has planned to reduce mortality from heart diseases by 25% by 2025 by reducing hypertension by 25%, reduction in salt by 30%, reduction in smoking by 30% and 10% increase in exercise by the population. These are very ambitious targets set by World Heart Federation which we can follow.

Prof. Akhtar Pervaiz read a message from Prof. Farid Al-Zafar Vice Chancellor of Faisalabad Medical University and pointed out that at present 350 medical students an fifty BDS students were enrolled at the medical and dental college while over six hundred postgraduates doing MD, MS, FCPS were enrolled in different programmes.

Prof. M. Ishaq General Secretary of PHL presented annual report. PHL at present he said has sixteen chapters, twenty six new members were enrolled during the last year. PHL in collaboration with pharmaceutical industry also conducted a survey regarding high blood pressure in major cities and urban slums wherein about twenty nine thousand people had their blood pressure checked. Hypertension Guidelines by PHL drafted by late Dr. Maqbool H. Jafary has now been updated which was edited by a committee under the chairmanship of Prof. Aamir Hameed Khan which have been published. PHL is also introducing a Certificate Course in management of Hypertension for Family Physicians from next month he added.

Earlier Prof. Ahmad Bilal Head of the Dept.of Medicine at Punjab Medical College who was chairman of the organizing committee welcomed the speakers as well as participants to the symposium. Scientific programme consisted of Breakfast Session on “ Aspirin” by Pakistan Aspirin Foundation sponsored by Atco Laboratories, Heart Failure sponsored by Novartis, plenary sessions, free paper sessions, Workshops on Hypertension, Pearls from Clinical Practice: Women Health and Hypertension, Medical Writing- Redefining the Research Impact sponsored by PharmEvo, Healthy Life Style. Skits by the medical students highlighted the causes of hypertension and its fatal outcome. In this the character of a mother played by one of the female medical students and her facial expressions was excellent. Few videos prepared by the medical students also highlighted the signs and symptoms of hypertension, risk factors etc. There was lot of fanfare including Lantern Rising Ceremony before the dinner on February 23rd and 24th, light music by the students.

General Body Meeting

General Body Meeting of PHL was quite eventful as usual. Eventually all the office bearers were elected unanimously as Dr.Shaukat Malik withdrew the name of Prof. Shahbaz Kureshi for the post of President in order to ensure unity in the PHL which was highly appreciated. Many members highlighted the importance of change in leadership, ensuring democratic character of PHL. It was also suggested that constitution of PHL was not at all democratic and it needs to be changed to ensure and allow participation to every one so that every member has a feeling of attachment and belonging and no one should feel that they were being ignored. A two member committee was thus formed under the chairmanship of Prof. Ejaz Ahmad Vohra with Prof. Mansoor Ahmad will be the other member to suggest changes in the constitution. Another suggestion put forward regarding holding the PHL meeting after every two years while the provinces can hold regional meeting every year or during the year when National meeting of PHL is not planned was also accepted. This will ensure that the provincial chapters can organize mini meeting in different cities within their province which will also be highly cost effective. Appropriate measures will be taken in this regard. Prof. Saulat Siddique took the charge of President who was administered the oath of office by the outgoing President Prof. Abdul Hafeez Chaudhry.

Enquiries revealed that the final year class of Punjab Medical College had a test regarding hypertension and atherosclerosis and sixty students with highest marks were selected and given Registration for the symposium. After the symposium according to Prof.Ahmad Bilal another test will be conducted based on the presentations in the symposium and the students will get credit based on their performance in the examination. On the whole it was a wonderful show put up by the organizers except time management was very poor and some of the speakers despite being reminded did not complete their presentation in time and the sessions were delayed. Since there were quite a few parallel programmes going on, it did create problems as one could not attend some of the programmes and listen to certain presentations. Detailed report on presentations in various scientific sessions will follow in the forthcoming issues.