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Pakistan needs to spend 10% of its GDP on Health and Education if economy permits-Baleeghur Rehman

Currently after debt servicing, very little is left for social
servicing hence we must work to improve our economy

We can sit together and solve most of our problems and take care of all the diseases – Prof. Ch. Abdul Rehman 118 out of 184 medical institutions
are in private sector which are supplementing Govt. efforts to
provide medical education & health care

LAHORE: Pakistan needs to spend at least 10% of its GDP on Health and Education but at present after debt servicing very little is left for social services. Hence, first of all we must improve our economy. Every successive government has tried its best to improve health services, education while some tried to destroy. Healthcare facilities and healthcare professionals are doing a commendable job but the quality of healthcare varies. This was stated by Governor of Punjab Mr. Baleeghur Rehman. He was speaking at the Internaitonal Medical Conference jointly organized by Superior University, University of Lahore and Pakistan Association of Medical & Dental Institutions (PAMI) held from March 4th to March 8th 2024. The formal Award Presentation ceremony for academicians and healthcare professionals which was part of the conference was held at the Superior University Campus on March 6th 2024. It was also attended by many members of PAMI besides delegates from all over the country in addition to a few guest speakers from overseas.

Prof. Ch. Abdul Rehman President PAMI, Chairman Superior University talking to Prof. Mukhtar Ahmed Chairman HEC (left) during Awards Ceremony organized by PAMI. On right he is busy talking to some of the guests at the reception.

Referring to the theme of the conference “AI Horizons in Medicine and Dentistry: Navigating the Future” Governor Punjab said that Artificial Intelligence has taken the world with storm. Many new platforms are now available and new knowledge is being created every minute. It will be a different world in future. The world is changing fast and we have to be lifelong learners. Don’t shy away from technology. I am an advocate of Public Private Partnership. They complement and benefit each other. He also referred to the benefits and contributions of the private sector.

Continuing the Governor of Punjab said that in the recent elections, health should have been an important issue. People should look at performance rather than personalities. We still have lot of children out of schools and we are singled out for this in the world. We must do research and check facts before being carried away with what is said on the social media. We have the highest number of young in the world. We are faced with population explosion and aging population is also increasing. Non-communicable disease like diabetes have become an epidemic. Renal diseases are also increasing. We need to plan for it. It is for the government to plan and think about it. I am delighted to be among the intelligent people and have praise for all of you. We have to get better and work hard as business as usual cannot go on. Our social fabric has changed.

Hopelessness is increasing in the country. Your decision to recognize people is commendable. They get passion and recharge and work more when their services are acknowledged. Let us pray and hope for the Nation. We have many Heroes amongst us who are doing commendable job and they are being recognized today. People should not get disappointed. Pakistan has highest percentage of per capita philanthropy. We have many hospitals providing absolutely free service and they have no cash counters. Those people are courageous who part with their wealth to help the poor and needy. Look at Akhuwat Foundation which provide Qarze Hasna through microfinance and they have 99.9% payback. This model needs to be followed. We need to acknowledge all those who are working for the welfare of the community in different fields. Better days will come and every day should be better.

Inshallah we will have better days, let us not lose Hope, he remarked. Later he presented Awards and Mementoes to a large number of healthcare professionals, owners of private medical institutions from all over the country both from public and private sector. Earlier their citations were read highlighting their contributions. Earlier Prof. Mukhtar Ahmed Chairman Higher Education Commission in his brief address said that we lack a proper programme. Recognizing the contributions of eminent healthcare professionals is a good beginning. We need to work together. Medicine is the best profession to serve humanity. We need to pay special attention to Health and Education. Let us work together and make Pakistan a prosperous State.

Mr. Shahid Munir Chairman of Punjab Higher Education Commission in his speech paid rich tributes to members of the medical profession who during Covid pandemic did a commendable job and saved precious lives. In this process many doctors, nurses and allied healthcare professionals also lost their lives. I myself got infected by Covid and was looked after by the doctors. He also referred to many GPs, Family Physicians who are serving the community all over the country providing cost effective affordable healthcare. He also mentioned a few names like Prof. Mahmood Ali Malik, Prof. Eice Muhammad and many others like them who are serving the community. Doctors have long working hours and at times they have to sacrifice many personal comforts to take care of the ailing humanity for which they need to be commended.

We have many doctors working all over the country selflessly with devotion and dedication. We still need many more who are keen and interested to pay back to the society. Doctors are working in rural areas under difficult circumstances and their services also needs to be recognized. Artificial Intelligence is here to stay and we need to use it to improve our services. He also commended the initiative taken by PAMI to award those healthcare professionals who have devoted their life to establish medical institutions, healthcare facilities.

Prof. Ch. Abdul Rehman Chairman Board of Governors of Superior University who is also President of Pakistan Association of Medical Institutions (PAMI) who first conceived the idea of organizing this conference and later decided to collaborate with others in his speech highlighted the role being played by private sector. He pointed out that we have amongst us today many of those who have served throughout their live and invested their fortune in establishing private medical institutions, healthcare facilities to supplement government efforts in providing medical, dental education and healthcare. PAMI has been pleading their cause, we believe in quality standards.

Some members of PAMI Prof. Mahwish Arooj from University of Lahore in particular has helped the Pakistan Medical & Dental Council in getting recognition by World Federation of Medical Education. Their successive Presidents and other important officials were invited to Pakistan to attend medical education conferences to see for themselves the progress being made by Pakistan which helped a lot in PM&DC getting WFME recognition.

President PAMI said that at present there are one hundred eighty-four medical and dental institutions in the country out of which 65% which is one hundred eighteens are in the private sector. Eight thousand seven hundred fifty-six medical graduates and over two thousand five hundred dental graduates are qualifying from private sector institutions affiliated with PAMI. We are helping and supplementing government efforts. There are over forty thousand beds in private sector, one hundred eighteen private hospitals are providing either free of highly subsidized health services and this is our Gift to the country. We wish to recognize all those Heroes who have spent their lives serving the community. He further suggested that if we the Vice Chancellors of medical universities, Principals of medical and dental colleges sit together, we can solve most of our problems and take care of all the diseases, he remarked.

Apart from the two days’ conference which had both oral presentations, Key Note speakers, there were numerous Pre-conference workshops which were conducted both at Superior University and University of Lahore Campus. Prof. Mukhtar Ahmed Chairman HEC was the Chief Guest at the formal inaugural session of the International Medical Conference held at University of Lahore on March 7th 2024.

Those who were honoured and recognized for their services to the community in the field of medical education and healthcare included Prof.Mahmood Ayaz, Prof. Mahwish Arooj, Prof. Saeed Qureshi, Prof. Farrukh Iqbal, Prof. Abbas Zafar, Prof.Adil Hyder, Prof.Tahir, Prof. Shaharyar, Prof.Zafarullah Chaudhry, Prof.Mian Abdul Rasheed, Prof.Surgeon M. Rehman, Dr. Baqar Askari, Dr.Ghulam Akbar Niazi, Mr. Rauf, Azhar Jadoon, Dr. Tariq Sohail, Dr. Asim Hussain, Dr. Riaz Shahbaz, Dr. Razi Muhammad, Ghulam Durrani, Jafary Niazi, Dr. Ashraf Nizami, President of Young Doctors Association, Shahid Munir, Prof. Rizwan Taj and others. Some of those honoured were members and office bearers of PAMI, PMA and other professional societies.

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