off record
Shaukat Ali Jawaid

PSIM sets new standards
for other Professional
organizations to follow

Medical conferences and all other academic activities organized by the medical profession all over the world are most often sponsored by the Pharmaceutical Trade and Industry which then passes it on to the patients in the form of high cost of drugs, medicines and procedures. That is why it has always been emphasized that first all such academic activities as far as possible should be arranged at medical institutions. It not only ensures an academic environment but also reduces the expenditures to a great extent as compared to the Five Star Hotels the usual venue for such conferences. Even if due to security reasons or some other difficulties, they have to be held at hotels, every effort should be made to minimize the expenditures and the funds generated from pharmaceutical trade and industry must be judiciously utilized.

It is also important that quality of the scientific programme should be such that it attracts the audience. Time management must be ensured, sessions should start on time and professional ethics must be upheld at all cost. It is in this background that one would like to congratulate Prof. Javed Akram President of PSIM, Prof. Aftab Mohsin Chairman of the organizing committee of PSIM conference and their entire team for setting some standards which must be followed by all other professional specialty organizations.

To begin with, the organizers arranged twenty workshops on important subjects at various medical universities and colleges which were well attended. This provides an ideal opportunity to learn in small groups and also ensures the sense of participation by all the involved medical institutions. Secondly the Break Fast Sessions which were sponsored by the pharmaceutical industry started on time at 8.30 AM and it was all transparent, well known that these are sponsored academic activities by the industry. Prof. Javed Akram himself as well as Prof. Bilal S. Mohydin declared their conflict of interest and in the very first slide made it clear that they were either sponsored speakers for the company or have borrowed some slides from the company in their presentation. It was indeed very heartening as this is something which is never seen in most of the medical conferences. Prof. Javed Akram also announced that it will be made compulsory for all the speakers in PSIM meetings in future to declare their conflict of interest.

There were no drug or company banners in the halls where scientific sessions were being held. One of the sponsors who had arranged for the audiovisual asked the permission to show slides of their products during the interval in sessions which was denied. However, despite that, the company representatives tried to show their product advertisement on the multimedia whenever they saw Prof. Javed Akram was not sitting in the audience or in the Hall. This is something which the PSIM will have to take care in future.

Presenting Shields and Mementoes and expensive conference bags to all the chairpersons, speakers has become a routine which is highly uncalled for and this is one expense which can be avoided. Hence, PSIM did not present any shield or memento to the chairpersons or speakers which must be appreciated. It also wastes lot of time which can be effectively used for discussion after the presentations. The chairpersons and panelists were however presented Certificates in a beautifully designed folder. All the participants, delegates had to be registered and entry to the conference events was being closely monitored to discourage the uninvited guests. Most often time management was perfect but still some of the speakers did take more time. In future the speakers need to be told in advance and the Chairpersons should monitor the timings effectively. In most scientific sessions enough time was given for discussion which is again praiseworthy because in many cases, the most important points are highlighted during the discussion rather than the original presentation. It also provides an opportunity to the speakers to clarify certain points if asked by the audience. Quality of the printing material i.e. scientific programme, certificates was very good which were all handled professionally. Adequate sitting arrangements were made at lunch and dinner hence the participants enjoyed their meals in a comfortable environment. The participants were encouraged to visit the exhibition and also look at the Posters.

The most important salient feature of the conference was that no politician was involved. Instead the PSIM honoured and gave respect to their own senior professional colleagues like Prof. Kh. Saadiq Hussain who was the Guest of Honour at the PSIM Convocation and also the Chief Guest at the inaugural session which was followed by dinner. The organizes also ensured that all the retired senior physicians which included eminent personalities like Prof. Mahmood Ali Malik, Prof. Akbar Chaudhry, Prof. Eice Mohammad and many others are invited and given due respect. Prof. Eice Mohammad was the chief guest in the concluding session who in his address emphasized the importance of humanism, respect and dignity of the patient, empathy, patiently listening to the patient’s complaints instead of rushing to write the prescription thus highlighting the importance of Clinical Skills.

We in these columns have all along been emphasizing upon the medical profession to uphold professional ethics during their interactions with the pharmaceutical trade and industry. PSIM has tried to do that to a great extent and one hopes that they will further improve upon it while leading and showing the way to other professional specialty organizations. Medical profession must ensure that these conferences provide an opportunity to the healthcare professionals for learning, sharing their knowledge and experience with their colleagues rather than proving to be a social get-together of doctors with their families which is most often the case. They must remember that eventually it deprive a large segment of the society of their medications since they cannot afford it and it is also an important reason for failure of the patients with therapeutic compliance. We are making some progress as regards upholding of professional ethics at the medical conferences, though the progress is rather slow but it is expected from the God fearing, kind hearted, and conscious personalities in the medical profession to become Good Role Models for their colleagues and the younger generation of healthcare professionals in particular.

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