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February 11, 2015

Barring AKU, no medical college recognised in US


February 11, 2015

Barring the Aga Khan University (AKU), no medical college of Pakistan is recognised in the United States, and of the 127 medical graduates from the country who were allowed specialisation in the US last year, 60 percent were AKU graduates.
The startling disclosure was made by Dr Shershah Syed, a Pakistan Medical Association leader and an eminent gynaecologist, in a news conference at the Karachi Press Club (KPC) on Tuesday.
The crisis has been created because “private medical colleges’ mafia” has destroyed public medical colleges, and barring AKU, none fulfil the criteria of the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC).
When he was asked if unlike private medical colleges, professors diagnosed diseases at public medical colleges such as the Dow University of Health Sciences and the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre while young graduates diagnosed at private medical colleges and there had been instances when reputed private hospitals refused to hand over bodies to the heirs until they had paid millions of rupees, Dr Syed said it was true but not everybody had access to professors at public medical colleges. “There is a difference between a doctor and a bandit.”
Dr Naseem Aziz Sheikhani, a former president of the Dow Medical College Students Union who now practices in the US and is involved in philanthropic work for those in Pakistan, said it seemed doctors trained at medical colleges in Pakistan had reached the lowest ebb.
He affirmed that only 127 doctors from Pakistan were provided jobs in training programmes in the US last year while nine doctors who had succeeded in getting jobs were refused visas.
In comparison, he said, more than 800 doctors from India are inducted in training programmes in the US.
Not long ago the ratio of Pakistani and Indian doctors was equivalent in training programmes in the US, he added. “This proves that medical education and training in Pakistan is faced with a severe crisis.”

He pointed out that the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education in the US had expressed concern over the standard of medical education in Pakistan.
He said none of the medical colleges in Pakistan at the moment were following the criteria laid down by the PMDC.
Dr Sheikhani said many medical colleges in Pakistan did not have the requisite teaching staff and whatever staff was available was part-time. “There are certain medical colleges that don’t have hospitals.”
He expressed concern that the PMDC had allowed setting up of medical and dental colleges without teaching staff and had increased seats in public and private hospitals. The tuition fee has also been raised immensely without considering merit, he said.
He said on the one hand medical education was showing signs of deterioration, but on the other, the law and order situation was adversely affecting doctors.
Dr Sheikhani said that as a representative of the National Health Forum in the US, he was keen to do more for Pakistanis, but it was becoming difficult since the donors monitor funding.
He said the PMDC should be made an autonomous body, its staff should be hired on the basis of merit and all medical colleges in Pakistan should be full-time colleges.
“During the past 10 years only three medical colleges were approved in the US, whereas there was a mushroom growth of medical colleges in Pakistan.”
He lamented that in Brooklyn and New York about 25 percent of the nurses hailed from India while qualified Pakistani nurses could not go to the US. “The deterioration of medical education in Pakistan is such that you can establish a medical college at the KPC after paying Rs20 million.”

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