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Thursday May 23, 2024

‘Pakistan needs hundreds of more gastroenterologists as stomach-related illnesses on the rise’

By M. Waqar Bhatti
May 12, 2024
This representational picture shows a woman experiencing stomach pain. — Unsplash/File
This representational picture shows a woman experiencing stomach pain. — Unsplash/File

Major urban centres of the country need hundreds of trained and qualified gastroenterologists at healthcare facilities as more than half of the patients who come to the hospitals’ emergencies for medical treatments have complaints regarding gastrointestinal tract and liver diseases, medical scientists and health experts said on Friday.

Addressing the inaugural session of 6th Annual Conference of Pak GI and Liver Disease Society (PGLDS) at a local hotel, they agreed that the growing number of diseases related to gastrointestinal tract was a “dangerous” trend. Those who spoke included Dr Farhat Abbas of the AKU Health Services, renowned gastroenterologist Prof Wasim Jafri, consultant gastroenterologist and president of the Pak GI and Liver Disease Society (PGLDS), Dr Lubna Kamani, and Professor of Gastroenterology Dr Shahid Ahmed.

They were of the view that the major percentage burden on the healthcare facilities’ emergencies is patients with need treatment for diarrhea, vomiting, other gastrointestinal health issues and problems for the liver. In these circumstances, they called for the need for more trained and qualified gastroenterologists to deal with the growing burden of patients with GI health issues.

Dr Lubna Kamani said that in addition to training young doctors, PGLDS was focusing on research in the field of gastroenterology as well as encouraging more women in the field of gastroenterology as female patients feel comfortable while discussing their issues with lady doctors.

“In this regard, we have launched WillMed, Women in Leadership League of Medicine to encourage female doctors to come forward and themselves trained in the field of medicine and gastroenterology,” she said.

She informed that for the first time, they have used simulators to train young gastroenterologists regarding endoscopy and other procedures of gastrointestinal tract while they have also come up with treatment guidelines for the management of helicobacter pylori infection in a large number of Pakistani populations.

Renowned gastroenterologist Prof Jafri said that despite difficult political and economic conditions, talented Pakistani specialists and youngsters had the ability to steer the country out of any crisis, and urged young graduates to stay in the country, get themselves equipped with latest techniques and knowledge and help the suffering humanity.

Prof Waseem Jaffri spoke about continuous training of the gastroenterologists so that they could utilize best available medical interventions to the people and avoid committing mistakes.

Patron-in-Chief PGLDS Dr Shahid Ahmed said they had started their journey as a small group to train young doctors and now their group had become a national society, which was being acclaimed internationally and young physicians as well as mid-career doctors were joining them to learn the advancements in the field of gastroenterology and hepatology.

He maintained said their society was striving for screening and treatment of the Hepatitis B and C patients in the peripheries of the city for quite some time and offered their services to the government in screening and treatment of Hepatitis patients in Sindh, saying they could help the authorities achieve the global target of Hepatitis C eradication by 2030.