off record
Shaukat Ali Jawaid


Regional collaboration
to improve healthcare
and academics


South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation has not been able to achieve its desired objectives due to political differences among the member countries on various issues and there is no possibility of these political issues being resolved in the near future. This has also affected the cooperation between the healthcare professionals and academicians who are unable to attend conferences organized by different medical, academic institutions and professional specialty organizations to share knowledge and experience since getting visa is not so easy but at times a very unpleasant and uphill task. Hence, what can be done in the prevailing circumstances to improve cooperation and collaboration between healthcare professionals and academicians in the region?

Mere organizing a conference of SAARC in different countries which is attended by a few representatives from some countries is not going to be of any real benefit unless the visa formalities for these professionals are simplified and made easy.  During the recently concluded SAARC Regional Association of Dermatology conference at Lahore some very useful suggestions were put forward by Prof. Anil Kumar from Nepal and Prof. Tahir Saeed Haroon from Pakistan. Prof. Anil Kumar rightly remarked that we need to go beyond holding such conferences. He was of the view that let the politicians resolve their differences but we the academicians and healthcare professionals should think of using information technology to organize Webinars, Tele Conferencing to share our knowledge and experience.  Prof. Tahir Saeed Haroon suggested collaboration between SAARC member countries in research and training programmes. He further suggested that the member countries should work together to develop guidelines for different diseases in dermatology specific to this region. All these suggestions are excellent which is doable and feasible using the information technology. Once these are materialized, this will also enhance the importance and credibility of these organizations. Let the leaders in the field of dermatology take an initiative in this regard which healthcare professionals and academicians in other disciplines of medicine can follow. It will go a long way in improving the healthcare and academics in this region.

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