Healthcare professionals should work together as a team to serve patients-Prof. Riaz Bhatti


11th National Neuropsycon Conference at Lahore 

Healthcare professionals should work together
as a team to serve patients - Prof. Riaz Bhatti

Spirituality has a role in the management of
mental disorders-Khalid Mufti

LAHORE: “Optimizing Unmet Needs of Psychological Trauma Sufferers” was the theme of the 11th National Neuropsycon, held in Lahore from April 24-26, 2015.It was organized by Pakistan Psychiatric Society &Psychiatric Welfare Association in collaboration with DUHS Karachi, Psychiatry Department of KEMU Lahore, FJMC Lahore, AIMC Lahore, Pakistan Society of Neurology, Pakistan Society of Neurosurgeons, Pakistan Academy of Family Physicians, Pakistan Psychological Association and Pakistan Association of Clinical Psychologist. Speaking at the occasion Dr. Zahid Pervaiz, Secretary Health Government of Punjab who was the chief guest in the inaugural session said that Psychiatry mental disorders affect a vast majority of our population in one way or the other. Family Physicians and psychiatrists are supposed to play their role to provide relief to the patients. Mental disorders along with non-communicable diseases were getting due attention of the provincial government and it has taken many important initiatives in this regard.


Sitting on the dais during the inaugural session of the 11th National
Neuropsycon, from (L to R) are Prof. Muhammad Sultan, President (PPS),
Prof. Riaz Bhatti, Chairman Organizing Committee Prof. Muhammad Sharif Ch.
(Guest of honor) and Dr. Zahid Pervaiz, Secretary Health Government of Punjab (Chief Guest)

Prof. Riaz Bhatti in his welcome address pointed out that the theme of the conference has a special relevance to the present day situation in Pakistan as we are facing the menace suicide bombers and terrorist attacks. We all must join hands to overcome these problems. After heart diseases, psychiatric disorders are quite common and we have a limited number of trained experienced mental healthcare professionals. We need to pool our resources to manage this disease burden. The terrorists attack on Army Public School in Peshawar has highlighted the challenge we face today. The government has constituted a committee headed by MNA Marvi Memon which also includes mental health experts to find ways and means to tackle this issue.

Prof. Majeed Chaudhry, Principal Lahore Medical& Dental College in his remarks said that we have not done what we should have done in the field of Psychiatry. Stigma related to this discipline needs to be removed to encourage patients to seek help from mental healthcare professionals in time. Prof. Sardar Fakhar Imam said that the terrorist attack on Army Public School in Peshawar has long lasting effects on the nation specially the people who were directly affected will never forget this tragic incident. We should involve all other specialties to provide mental care to the sufferers because four hundred psychiatrist cannot handle the present disease burden.

Maj. Gen. (R) Muhammad Aslam, VC UHS Lahore presenting souvenir to
Prof. Aziz-Ur- Rehman during the 11th National Neuropsycon. On right is
Prof. M. Riaz Bhatti Chairman Organizing Committee of Neuropsycon.

Prof. Muhammad Sultan, President Pakistan Psychiatric Society addressing the participants said that PPS is now stronger and united and it has involved more and more specialties in its academic and healthcare activities. We are working together with various organizations including Army and have established two Psychotrauma Centre at LRH Peshawar and one in CMH Peshawar. Child Psychiatry has been established as a sub-specialty while we are working on Forensic and old age psychiatric services. Mental Health Act has been passed in Sindh assembly and hoped it would be passed in other Assemblies as well.

Prof. Mazhar Malik, Immediate Past President of PPS in his speech said that Transparency, accountability and unity were the main focus in my tenure as President PPS which has never been compromised. Prof. Riaz Bhatti was doing a commendable job by organizing this academic activity regularly for the last many years which has helped to improve standard of Psychiatric care in Pakistan.

Dr. Tariq Mahmood Mian, President, Pakistan Academy of Family Physicians speaking at the occasion highlighted the importance of training the Family Physicians in taking care of common psychiatric disorders. Trained Family Physicians are capable of taking care of the common mental disorders..

Maj. Gen. (R) Muhammad Aslam, Vice Chancellor, University of Health Sciences, Lahore was the Chief Guest at dinner while Prof. Humayun Maqsood Principal Fatima Memorial Medical & Dental College, Lahore was the guest of honour. Prof. I A K Tareen, Prof. Muhammad Sharif Chaudhry also graced the occasion with their presence as special guests. Prof. Bhatti in his speech pointed out that they have involved Pakistan Academy of Family Physicians to train Family Physicians to overcome the shortage of mental health care professionals in the country. Efforts are also being made to collaborate with Pakistan Society of Neurology, Neurosurgery, Neuropsychology and Psychologists.

Prof. Muhammad Sharif said that Prof. Bhatti has helped a lot the young psychiatrists who are coming forward, which is a positive sign. Psychiatry has flourished a lot and will continue to flourish due to hard work being done by the mental healthcare professionals. Prof. I.A.K Tareen lauded the efforts of Prof. Riaz Bhatti and said that we have played our innings and people are the better Judge. We should pray from Almighty Allah to give us courage and strength to work for unity of our beloved country. There will be days when people who are settled abroad will start coming back to this beautiful country and wish to serve here. Prof. Humayun Maqsood in his speech said that psychiatry and medicine has to go together. Psychiatry has not been given the status it deserves, it has been established, but still a lot needs to be done.


Group Photograph taken during the 11th National Neuropsycon, held in Lahore from April 24-26, 2015
shows Dr. Nazish Imran, Major Dr. Nadeem Ahmed, Prof. Rizwan Taj, Prof. Muhammad Sultan,
Dr. Majid Ali Abidi, Prof. M. Riaz Bhatti, Prof. I.A.K Tareen, Prof. Mazhar Malik, Dr. Ajmal Kazmi, 
Dr. Wajid Ali Akhunzada and Prof. Raza–Ur-Rehman and others.

Maj. Gen. (R) Muhammad Aslam in his speech said that theme of the conference is very pertinent to the present day needs. We have to deal with the very high levels of persisting stress in our society due to recent turmoil as a result of war on terror and the menace of terrorism and suicide bombing. We need initiative to combat present wave of post-traumatic and stress disorder. Let us all work together for the prosperity of our country.

Public awareness session

Zehni Beemariya Jin Bhoot Ka Saaya (Asal Haqiqat Kia?) was the topic of media & public awareness session which is a regular part of the conference. Eminent personalities from different walks of life who spoke in this session included Prof. Amjad Islam Amjad, Hafiz Zafarullah Shafiq, Prof. Khalid Mufti, Prof. Muhammad Sultan, Dr. Nisar Hussain Dr. Khalid Mughal and Prof. Riaz Bhatti.

Prof. Riaz Bhatti in his introductory remarks said that our people still believe in these old theories. Psychiatry started to flourish after the arrival of psychotropic drugs about forty years ago. I always try to remain in touch with these Peers, Fakeers, Hakims and Faith Healers to know how they work. We wish to have them with us so that there may be an opportunity to convince them to avoid playing with the lives of these poor people.

Dr. Ajmal Kazmi said that the cause of psychiatric diseases is not known which help the people to think about these old theories. Jinnat are a makhlooq and are present everywhere. God has made a system in the brain and when its immunity decreases it stops working. There are so many ways to increase immunity of the system which can avoid these happenings. Dr. Nisar said that these so called Aamal Babas are fraud. People need their problems to be solved and need psychotherapy which can be done by mental healthcare professionals in a better manner. Prof. Sultan said that we daily see five to six jins in our practice. These are all foolish things. These are scientific disorders and we have the treatment modalities to avoid malpractices by these Quacks, Hakims and Faith Healers..Dr. Khalid Mughal stated that people go to Peers Faqeers because they give them patient hearing and we psychiatrist don’t give proper time to the patients. Prof. Khalid Mufti said that when we examine a patient we should see his/her attitude and our attitude. Mental illness has different classes which can be treated medically and spiritualty has its role, he added. Prof. Amjad Islam Amjad said that Gandda Taweez etc. has psychiatric treatment but we cannot deny that these kind of people like Peers faqeers and Jin walay Babaas are found throughout the World. Media has started giving importance to these people which has multiplied the difficulties of Psychiatrists. There should be code of conduct for the media to avoid programs which help, poor people to believe in these Negative thinking. If this issue is not sorted out, it will become a major problem, he added. Hafiz Zafarullah Shafiq said that no one can deny the presence of Jinnat but God has given the power to Human beings while Jinnat are nothing. We need to educate the people on health issues so that they are not influenced with false propaganda.

Concluding session

Sardar Ayaz Sadiq Speaker National Assembly was the chief guest in the concluding session. Speaking at the occasion he said that during the last five years Government has increased health budget, salary of doctors has been increased. We should have a centralized approach and one curriculum in the country. Twenty first constitutional amendments was not a happy decision but it was needed. If we have peace in the country it will bring investment which is the backbone of progress of any nation. Recent contracts with our brotherly country China are going to become Swiss canal in Pakistan which will help to improve progress of our country. He promised to play his role for better implementation of Mental Health Act throughout Pakistan. Pakistan, he stated is the best country of the World, have talent and all the resources which are needed for a country to be proud of, he added.


Group photograph of the Panelist of Public Awareness Session (Zehni Beemari ya Jin Bhoot Ka Saaya
(Asal Haqiqat Kia?) held at Lahore during the 11th National Neuropsycon shows from (L to R)
Dr. Khalid Mughal, Prof. Muhammad Sultan, Prof. Khalid Mufti, Hafiz Zafarullah Shafiq
Prof. Riaz Bhatti, Prof. Amjad Islam Amjad, Dr. Ajmal Kazmi Dr. Nisar and Dr. Wajid Ali Akhunzada.

Prof. M. Riaz Bhatti in his speech said that Terrorism in Pakistan has become a major and highly destructive phenomenon in recent years. People are now not afraid of wild animals but from human beings. Govt. of Pakistan has taken some practical steps to establish trauma centers for rehabilitation of the trauma victims. Psychiatric Welfare Associate has taken it as mission to promote and provide postgraduate training to our healthcare providers to overcome the shortage of psychiatrists in the country. He urged the media to play its positive role and be careful while covering terrorist activities which have very negative effects on the health of children. He concluded his speech with the following couplet:

Prof. Maj. Gen. (R) M Aslam VC UHS Lahore addressing the participants said that conference proceedings may be published and recommendation should go to all the concerned authorities to take appropriate actions. He further suggested that an Institute of Neurosciences should be established at national level having all the components of the related disciplines of like neurology, psychiatry, endocrinology, nurses, pathology, interventional radiology, psychology, general medicine etc.

Prof. Razaur Rehamn said that Dow University of Health Sciences has first time conducted exam in psychiatry and one who does not clear in this subject will not be promoted. All over the World psychiatry is an integral part of medical education but we have not prioritized it yet. CME credit hours are being awarded to the participants of CME activities which will help increase interest of the participants in such academic activities.

Dr. Majid Abadi said that terrorist attack on Army Public School Children has united us as a Nation. Health in general has not remained apriority of our successive government while mental health often remained neglected. Presence of Speaker National Assembly in the concluding session of this conference has given us hope that present Government will pay attention to mental health needs of the country.