off record
Shaukat Ali Jawaid

All about the Viruses
and the Vaccines

While the different types of viruses known in the medical community have been named after different alphabets like Hepatitis-A, B, C, D and E and it has been gradually increasing over the years, the recent viral infection Covid19 has shook the world which no one had ever expected. Keeping in view its worldwide spread, increasing morbidity and mortality, it has failed even the richest countries of the world and the health planners, policy makers alike.

The economic meltdown has been classic, millions of jobs were lost, unemployment increased manifold everywhere but the Low and Middle Income Countries were the hardest hit. With increase in poverty, slowdown of economic growth, their economic problems have multiplied. If this was not enough, it has also lead to an enormous increase in mental disorders. According to WHO there has been a 25% increase in Global prevalence of anxiety and depression. According to Dr. Tedros Adhanom the impact of Covid19 on World Mental Health we see is just the tip of iceberg. It is also a wakeup call to countries to pay more attention to mental health and do a better job supporting their population’s mental health.” 1

If all this was not enough we in Pakistan are faced with yet another set of viruses. It not only affects the population at large but the members of the medical profession in particular. An eminent physician of the country, former Principal of King Edward Medical College who also served as President of CPSP while speaking at the CPSP international conference at Karachi many years ago had remarked that “Members of the medical profession in Pakistan have been infected with a CC Virus which he later explained that CC stands for Corruption and Commercialization. The result is that healthcare in Pakistan has become most expensive which a large segment of the society cannot afford. Economy of the country is in shambles with ever increasing inflation, things are becoming difficult with the every passing day. This has naturally increased the prevalence of mental disorders in the community as well. Unless we have a strong economy, we can neither pursue an independent economic policy nor independent foreign policy. Hence, it is essential that each one of us should work hard, honestly pay taxes, and promote love and affection in the community, harmony among different sections of the society. Unfortunately the politicians of Pakistan have been working overtime during the last four years to spread hatred and we see increasing polarization in the society to an extent which was never seen in the past.

Speaking at the recently held World Psychiatrics Association (WPA) Thematic Conference 2022 at Lahore during the session devoted to public mental health, Prof. Mowadat H.Rana also referred to the increasing prevalence of anxiety, depression, stress and other disorders. With all sort of medications, we can only try to eliminate or control symptoms in about 60-70% cases but then unless the environment sees a positive change, there remains a chance of recurrences. He laid emphasis on promoting Happiness and Wellbeing which will have a positive effect. We need to promote family moral values, promote and further strengthen the family system. With the so called, affluence the family fabric seems to be disintegrating. He was of the view that we need vaccines for promoting tolerance, patience.2 This advice coming from an eminent mental healthcare professional needs to be given a serious thought by every citizen of Pakistan in general and our politicians in particular. A few years ago another noted psychiatrist of Pakistan, Prof. Saad Bashir Malik had suggested mental health checkup of all public office holders, the politicians in particular before they are given some responsibilities.3

Earlier yet another eminent medical personality of Pakistan Lt.Gen. (Retd) Mahmud Ahmad Akhtar former Surgeon General of Pakistan Army in his write up published in Pulse International had stated that “Mental Health Fitness of political leadership is extremely important.” He had further suggested that “our politicians must be evaluated by foreign experts for their mental health and fitness because they may blame the Pakistani Psychiatrists of partiality. His suggestion also included that media houses should also get their journalists examined for their mental health because utterances and writings of a few of them appear very suspicious and they are doing lot of harm to the Nation by their vicious and poisonous speech both oral and written”.4

However, one would like to commend and appreciate those in the media and the politicians who have always kept the national interest supreme, kept up professional ethics while discharging their duties to keep the Nation informed of developments taking place in the country.


  1. Global prevalence of anxiety and depression. Pulse International Vol.23 No.5, March 15, 2022.http://www.pulsepakistan.com/index.php/main-news-march-15-22/4382-covid-19-pandemic-triggers-25-increase-worldwide. Accessed on April 21, 2022
  2. Mental health of Pakistani political leadership. Off the Record. Pulse International September 1st 2014. . http://www.pulsepakistan.com/index.php/off-the-records-sept-1-14.( Accessed on April 21, 2022).
  3. Saad B. Malik. The Mental Health of Pakistani politicians. Pulse International September 1st 2012.
  4. Mahmud Ahmed Akhtar, Lt.Gen.(Retd). Mental Health Fitness of political leadership is extremely important. Pulse International September 1srt 2014. Page-1. http://www.pulsepakistan.com/index.php/main-news-sept-1-14/872-mental-health-fitness-of-political-leadership-is-extremely-importance (Accessed on April 21, 2022)
© Professional Medical Publications. All rights reserved.