KEMU-Mayo Hospital establishes First indoor Child Psychiatry unit in Pakistan

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KEMU-Mayo Hospital establishes First 
indoor Child Psychiatry unit in Pakistan
Department offers comprehensive services by multidisciplinary 
team consisting of psychiatrists, psychologists, play and 
speech therapist and health educator - Dr. Nazish Imran


LAHORE: In an effort to develop and promote sub-specialties King Edward Medical University and Mayo Hospital Lahore has established the First indoor Child Psychiatry unit in Pakistan. This 6-bed indoor facility which also has an art-play therapy unit was formally inaugurated by Khawaja Salman Rafique Advisor to Chief Minister Punjab on Health along with Prof. Khalida Tareen an eminent child psychiatrist who founded the child psychiatry unit in KEMC/Mayo Hospital Lahore in mid 70s. Vice Chancellor of KEMU Prof. Asad Ashraf and Medical Superintendent of Mayo Hospital Dr.Zahid Pervez were also present on this occasion. The meeting was very well attended by psychiatrists, psychologists, postgraduates and speech therapists besides others interested in development of children.

Mr. Salman Rafique Advisor to Chief Minister Punjab on Health (third from left) was the
chief guest at the formal opening of Child Psychiatry Indoor facility at Mayo Hospital recently.
Also sitting on the dais along with him are Dr. Nazish Imran, Dr. Asad Aslam VC KEMU and
Prof. Khalida Tareen who was the Guest of honour on this occasion.

This facility, it may be mentioned here has been established through the hard work of Dr.Nazish Imran MRCP Head of the Dept.of Child and Family Psychiatry at KEMU with the help of funds generated through donations. Dr. Waqar Azeem an eminent Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, Clinical Director Yale Child Study Centre in United States donated rupees fifty thousand while a number of pharmaceutical firms also contributed for this facility. VC of KEMU and MS Mayo Hospital also played a vital role in the establishment of this indoor facility.
Speaking at the occasion Prof.Khalida Tareen said that the Child and Family Psychiatry unit at KEMC Mayo Hospital was established in mid 70s. Research, she said, is very important for the development of any department. She also recalled that during those days WHO approved a research project in which nine countries including Pakistan had to participate. After the necessary formalities were completed, the documents were sent to WHO and they invited one representatives from all the countries to present report so that this project could be processed further. The invitation came to the provincial health department and instead of sending some psychiatrist from the department, one of the Section Officers from the health department had a joyride to Switzerland and it was the end of this project. Since he knew nothing about psychiatry what to talk of child psychiatry, no report was presented from Pakistan and we lot this opportunity of international collaboration. This is just one example and this is exactly what has been going on in Pakistan for years and years that is why we have not made any worthwhile progress in the health sector, she remarked.

Kh. Salman Rafique Advisor to the CM Punjab on Health presenting mementoes to Dr. Zahid Pervez
MS Mayo Hospital, Dr. Nazish Imran and Prof.Aftab Asif at the formal opening of
Child Psychiatry Indoor facilioty at Mayo Hospital on October 12th 2012.

Prof. Khalid Tareen also disclosed that when Children Hospital at Lahore was planned, it had a full fledged department of Psychiatry with indoor facilities and all related services but what happened to that is also not known. Children of Pakistan and people at large have suffered a lot because of this attitude of the bureaucracy and the health planners.
Khawaja Salman Rafique in his speech said that we must respect our mothers and the health services need to be appropriately adjusted and integrated. Instead of building new centers, what we need is proper utilization of the existing facilities by having a proper referral system. It will also reduce the rush at the main tertiary healthcare facilities. Once the health services are integrated, it will also improve the quality of care. Sustainability of any facility on long term basis needs to be ensured. He assured to help in resolving the problems of contract staff in the department. Dr. Zahid Pervez Medical Superintendent of Mayo Hospital commended the services of Prof. Khalida Tareen who he said was the founder of child psychiatry in Pakistan. This addition of indoor child psychiatry facility could only become possible due to hard work, devotion and dedication of Dr.Nazish Imran whom he termed as the Heroin of Child Psychiatry. Once she takes up any project, then she completes it. We in Mayo Hospital, Dr. Zahid Pervez said have established many new units like nephrology, the TB ward has been renovated at a cost of eight million rupees and an Intensive Care Unit has also been established at a cost of seven million rupees. All this has been done by generating funds through donations. Out Patients Department at Mayo Hospital has also been renovated. We have very cordial relations with VC KEMU Prof. Asad Ashraf who has completed a record number of development projects during the last two years. He has done a commendable job in the field of medical education, postgraduate education and training. Prof. Aftab Asif is the new addition to Dept of Psychiatry and we hope he will develop it further. We have to keep in mind our social and cultural values and we see many things here in Pakistan which is no more accepted in the civilized society the world over. 
Prof. Asad Aslam Vice Chancellor of KEMU said that it is our duty to do something and pay back to this country which has given all of us so much. He paid tributes to Prof. Khalida Tareen for her services to promote the discipline of child and family psychiatry in Pakistan and termed the Tareens as an ideal couple. If we are of any good, it is because of the teaching and training of our teachers like Prof. and Mrs.Khalida Tareen who trained us well. At KEMU and Mayo Hospital we are trying to maintain the reputation of disciplines like Psychiatry, Neurosurgery, Dermatology, Ophthalmology, ENT and others which all have a history behind them. I believe in development and we need to develop further sub-specialties within these disciplines like department of psychology, speech therapy etc. Establish these services and give them targets to achieve and then do audit to evaluate their performance. Dr. Zahid Pervez, he said, is an experienced hospital administrator and his valuable guidance and assistance is always available to us. Whenever I have some work, I go to him and we sort it out and that is how the things work smoothly, he added. He also commended the devotion of Dr. Nazish Imran with whose efforts this new indoor facility of child psychiatry has been established which is first of its kind in Pakistan. Khawaja Salman Rafique has always been very kind to us and it is because of his keen interest that we could undertake so much development work in the hospital, he added.
Prof. Aftab Asif who has just taken over as Prof. and Head of the Academic Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Sciences at KEMU said that there are different sub-specialties which include Adult psychiatry, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Forensic Psychiatry and Geriatric Psychiatry. Previously general population did not accept child psychiatry but now the situation is changing. Our children are now very intelligent, they possess too much information. Nazish Imran has taken the commendable step of establishing child psychiatry indoor unit. KEMU need to start post fellowship training programmes of two years duration in child psychiatry, geriatric and forensic psychiatry. The later is very important and we need it in Pakistan. Forensic psychiatry was established in UK and USA a long time ago. We need to assess, evaluate the attitude and behaviour of our children to ensure their proper development.
Earlier Dr. Nazish Imran in her welcome address said that Child and Family Psychiatry Department was established by Prof. Khalida Tareen in mid 70s and it flourished under her guidance. She is the sole reason for the existence of this department. However, after her retirement, things were not the same due to various factors including lack of faculty. Now we have been able to revive these services and the department of Child and Family Psychiatry is providing comprehensive multidisciplinary treatment to thousands of children every year. This six bed dedicated in-patient unit is a step in the right direction. She thanked VC KEMU Prof.Asad Ashraf and MS Mayo Hospital Dr.Zahid Pervez for their all out support in every step of this major achievement. We have a holistic approach to child mental health and our team includes psychiatrists, psychologists, play and speech therapist and health educator. We are actively involved in teaching and training of undergraduate and postgraduates, psychology and speech therapy students as well. Research, Dr. Nazish Imran stated, is an important aspect and more than fifteen publications in national and international journals in the recent past is an example of our commitment. Our departmental research has been presented for the last two consecutive years in American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry meetings. This year we presented papers at Royal College of Psychiatry meetings in England and International Academy of Child Psychiatry and allied professionals meetings in Paris. These were the first presentations from Pakistan in these prestigious forums. We have also signed an MOU with Yale University in USA to collaborate in academic and research activities.
Continuing Dr. Nazish Imran said that while we have been trying our best, there is a lot which still needs to be done and we need support of everyone in the department and the administration. There is no post of Professor in the department, we have also requested for the creation of posts of clinical psychologists, play therapists and speech therapists which needs sympathetic consideration. Many staff members including play therapist and speech therapists in the department are working on contract basis for the last many years and their services needs to be regularized. We have managed to renovate the department from our own resources but financial assistance in purchase of instruments, Air conditioners and Heaters are needed. We hope the health department and hospital administration will continue to support us in this regard. She thanked Dr. Waqar Azeem Clinical Director Yale Child Study Centre USA for his generous support, Genetics, Araf and Werrick Pharmaceuticals for their assistance in establishing this indoor facility of child psychiatry. She also thanked the faculty members of Dept of Psychiatry, volunteers and all others who helped in the creation of this indoor facility. Good mental health, she said, allows children and young people to develop the resilience to cope with whatever life throws at them and grow into well-rounded, healthy adults. It is imperative on us to attend to their enormous unmet needs in child and adolescent mental health. We must recognize the paucity of services precisely where needs are greatest and insist on action to remedy the treatment gaps. The consequences are particularly disastrous in the case of the young. The needs of children cannot be deferred while we wait for a more convenient time. Dr. Nazish Imran concluded her address with the following couplets of Chilean poet Gabriela Mistral:

Many things can wait
The Child Cannot

Now is the time
His blood is being formed

His bones are being made
His mind is being developed

To him we cannot say tomorrow
His name is Today