off record
Shaukat Ali Jawaid

Researchers from less
developed areas must
get special attention

Last month a young researcher, a student of PhD from Baluchistan came to see me and made a very innocent request.” I have already published a paper in Pakistan Journal of Medical Sciences as second author and now I am enrolled as a PhD scholar and one of the conditions is to get my paper published in an Impact Factor Journal”, he stated. Hence,” I need your help. We are from Baluchistan a less developed area and we are also Pakistani hence deserve some consideration,” he remarked. It was not at all difficult to understand his feelings.

I looked at the abstract of his paper and told him that even the objective of his study was vague, does not convey why you have planned your study. Perhaps your supervisor also does not know or he is not helping you, guiding you which are his academic responsibility once he has accepted to be the supervisor. The young researcher was very much disappointed but I reassured him that he should first read a few published papers, then carefully read instructions for authors on the journal website, follow these instructions. While I did promise to help him but made it clear that helping and facilitation is something different but we won’t be able to accept sub-standard study for publication.

It is the duty of the institution heads, Bolan University, Bolan Medical College to organize some workshops on scientific writing to help the faculty members; postgraduates learn the art of medical writing. We in the Pakistan Association of Medical Editors (PAME) will be too glad to facilitate such workshops but the initiative has to come from the institutions there. It is also unfortunate that we do not see much academic activity in Baluchistan for various reasons. Many specialty organizations have also stopped holding their conferences in Baluchistan for quite some time. We should not neglect Baluchistan and it was in that context that Prof. Abdus Samad sometime ago took the initiative to organize a conference on Preventive Cardiology at Quetta which was a great success. This was the first conference after many years held at Quetta. Then we organized a seminar on Updates in Aspirin in Quetta and few others have also managed to hold small meeting but no major conference is held there, this is something which needs to be addressed. Members of the medical profession in Baluchistan should never have a feeling of being left out; hence it is the duty of every patriotic Pakistani to help their colleagues in Baluchistan.

There is a sense of deprivation in Baluchistan which has increased manifold during the last few years, thanks to the military dictators and their way of handling the political issues. We must remember political issues need to be resolved politically not by force. Violence breeds violence. One has to win the hearts of the people not to suppress them with force. It was the same policy that we lost half the country the former East Pakistan, now Bangladesh. We as a Nation need to learn lesson from our past mistakes. All is not well in Baluchistan. Enforced disappearances of political activists have created a very dangerous situation. Hence we need to put some dressing to heal the wounds, promote love and affection so that we all live in complete peace and harmony.

Over the years the situation has improved. We have seen some developments in various fields in Baluchistan. There was a time there was no medical college but now there are many such institutions in the province. People like Prof. Mahmood Raza, former Principal of Bolan Medical College went out of the way to get more and more postgraduates from Baluchistan enrolled in postgraduate institutions in Lahore using his contacts and it paid rich dividends. Many postgraduates got training in Lahore and Karachi and are now serving in Baluchistan to meet the shortage of faculty members. College of Physicians & Surgeons of Pakistan has also played its role and many postgraduates in different specialties have now got their Fellowship from CPSP filling up the much needed faculty positions. However, still there is lot more needs to be done.

Currently no medical journal is published from Baluchistan. I had discussed this issue with Prof. Lehri Principal of Bolan Medical College who was at that time also President of now deceased PM&DC. We did discuss these issues but unfortunately things could not move beyond the planning stages, hence no implementation. When one of the candidates from Baluchistan applied for Certificate Course in Medical Editing being held at University of Health Sciences Lahore where I happen to be the course coordinator, I selected her for the course with a hope that after getting training, she will prove to be an asset for the province. She has so far done well. We need to encourage all those who wish to improve their professional capacity and the Government of Baluchistan should also extend them all financial help and assistance to all the deserving candidates. It was in the same spirit that a candidate from Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto Medical University Larkana was accommodated in the Certificate Course in Medical Editing at UHS. Let us not leave everything to the government but each one of us must come forward to play our role in strengthening the bonds of friendship, love and affection and help our brothers and sisters from all the less developing areas of Pakistan in different fields.

Tail Piece: “Destroying any nation does not require the use of atomic bombs or the use of long-range missiles…. It only requires lowering the quality of education and allowing cheating in the examination by the students…”

• Patients die at the hands of such doctors…
• Building collapse at the hands of such engineers…
• Money is lost at the hands of such economists & accountants…
• Humanity dies at the hands of such religious scholars…
• Justice is lost at the hands of such judges….

“The collapse of education is the collapse of nation.”
This message is reportedly written at the entrance gate of a university in South Africa.

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