Conference on Ramadan and Health by JSMU
Universities are supposed to produce
knowledge through Research-Prof.Tariq Rafi

KARACHI. Universities are supposed to produce knowledge through research which is the basic ingredients of a university. We are a new university and are trying to promote research culture in our students. We have included research module in our MBBS and other subjects. This was stated by Prof. Syed Muhammad Tariq Rafi, Vice Chancellor Jinnah Sindh Medical University (JSMU), Karachi while giving his concluding remarks in the first scientific session of 3rd Pakistan International Conference on Ramadan and Health organized by Jinnah Sindh Medical University from 23rd to 25th August, 2019. The conference attract a few speakers from overseas as well which included Dr. Mohsen Nematy, Dr. Abdolreza Norouzy from Iran, Prof. Mafauzy Mohamed from Malaysia and Dr. Kamran Mahmood Ahmed A. Aziz, from Saudi Arabia besides local speakers. . The theme of the conference was ‘Ramadan: Bridge between Health and Spiritual Path’.

Continuing Prof. Tariq Rafi said that unfortunately the Research is one thing which is not being given due importance and priority in Muslim countries. In the past, Muslims were dominating the World and it was because of science and research. Being pious is very good but not being educated nullified our all acts because it is not only we have to pray, we have to balance our religious and other responsibilities which we are not doing. The literature produced from Muslim countries all over the World in year 2017 were not equal to that published in impact factor journals by Israel alone. This makes the difference that a small country like Israel dominates because of education and research and its commitment. Unfortunately the Muslim countries have got all the wealth but have not made any progress because they are not investing in education, health and research. We are building the World’s tallest buildings but have not made any World renowned university. In first hundred universities none of the Muslim country university is enlisted. China in the last twenty years has transformed itself and it is the fourth largest country which is included in first five hundred universities. It is because of the commitment of the people, politicians and the Government for education and research

Prof. Anis Ahmed, Prof. Syed Muhammad Tariq Rafi, Sardar Muhammad Yasin Malik, Mr.
Syed Nasir Hussain Shah, Prof. Ghulam Sarwar Qureshi and Prof. Nazeer Khan speaking
at the 3rd Pakistan International Conference on Ramadan and Health organized by Jinnah
Sindh Medical University Karachi from 23rd to 25th August, 2019

Prof. Mafauzy Mohemad from Malaysia was the first speaker in this session who talked about managing insulin treated patients during Ramadan. Majority of diabetic patients including on insulin fast during Ramadan. Though the guidelines do not recommend patients on insulin therapy, except those on basal insulin only therapy to fast but many insist on fasting. These patients needs to be counseled before Ramadan on dietary and fluid intake, physical activity and exercise, insulin adjustment, glucose monitoring and when to break fast. Individual care and management plan for each individual patient is required. With proper counseling, insulin therapy adjustment and monitoring, many diabetics would be able to fast, he added.

Prof. Abdul Basit, Director Baqai Institute of Diabetes & Endocrinology talked about the Diabetes & Ramadan recent endeavors from Pakistan. A decade ago, population based study of epidemiology of diabetes and Ramadan conducted in twelve thousand two hundred forty three patients with diabetes in thirteen Islamic counties showed that 43% and 79% of patients with type 1 and type 2 diabetes reported fasting during Ramadan. We were facing the challenges to define healthy with diabetes and to balance fasting obligation ensuring safety concerns. A study group was formed in 2008 headed by Dr. Prof. Muhammad Yakoob Ahmedani with the aim to educate people to fast but do not put life on risk. Pre Ramadan diabetes education should focus on key areas that should be key components of a Ramadan –focused educational programmes. Majority of fasting people with diabetes fall in to high risk category according to our IDF-DAR guidelines. Very high risk category had major complications, whilst none of our high risk category patients develop major complications. We recommend additional studies for risk assessment and revision of the risk category on the basis of scientific evidence. In a recent prospective case control study for type 1 diabetes, none of our patients required hospitalization and there was no serious acute complications of diabetes during Ramadan. Safety of fasting can be ensured in patients with Type-1 diabetes with Ramadan specific diabetes education and medical supervision, he added.

Prof. Kamran Mehmood Ahmed from Saudi Arabia shared his experience of managing diabetes safely during Ramadan. Diabetes, he said, is a global problem and Saudi Arabia has a prevalence of diabetes of 33.5% who are Type-1 diabetics. Problems of diabetes management must be addressed with proper education in this regard. Pre Ramadan education is very important, patients with high hypoglycemia before Ramadan are at risk, they should be taken in special care. Overweight is the leading cause, of diabetes and all we need is patient’s education, he added.

Mr. Rizwan Ullah from JSMU discussed the publication trends in Ramadan and Health. He pointed out that there has been increase in research on Ramadan and health from the year 2004 Onwards. Number of articles pertaining to Ramadan and Health are increasing every year. There is need of closer collaboration between various countries and institutes he added.

Prof. Nazir Khan Chairman of the conference stated that every year just before the month of Ramadan, an awareness program regarding diet and drug adjustment for conditions such as pregnancy, diabetes, renal diseases, and coronary artery disease are organized. Furthermore, every alternate year, JSMU organizes an ‘International Biennial Conference’ on Ramadan and Health. These conferences are organized to disseminate studies conducted on the effects of Ramadan fasting where national and International faculty is invited to present their latest research for the management of diabetes. This year, fourteen invited speakers from Pakistan presented their work related to Ramadan and Health.

Mr. Nisar Hussain Shah, Minister of Local Government and Sardar Muhammad Yasin Malik, were the chief guest and guest of honor in the inaugural session. Prof. Anis Ahmed, a well-known scholar and Vice Chancellor of Riphah University, Islamabad delivered a talk on the theme of the conference Ramadan: Bridge between Health and Spiritual Path.

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