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Only one dental surgeon for over 10,000 people in Pakistan: Pirzada Qasim

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KARACHI- Shortage of dentists in the country and lack of awareness of oral heath were among the topics highlighted at the 8th white coat ceremony of Fatima Jinnah Dental College.

Only one dental surgeon is available for over 10,000 people in Pakistan, said Ziauddin University’s vice chancellor, Prof. Dr Pirzada Qasim Raza Siddiqui. Considering the shortage of dentists and surgeons in Pakistan, the government’s health programme can only be successful if doctors are prepared to face the increasing challenges.  “Developing soft skills, such as communication and updating knowledge through group discussions, along with other social interaction abilities are essential for doctors,” said Dr Syed Hussain Askary, the academic director at the college.

The College is affiliated with the Karachi University and is recognised by the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council. The post-graduate programmes offered at the institute are approved by the College of Physicians and Surgeons Pakistan. FJDC has produced 1000 dental surgeons since 1992.

“There is an increasing need for oral-heath awareness in the country,” stressed Dr Yawar Ali Abidi, head of surgery at Dr.Ishrat-ul-Ebad Institute of Oral Health Sciences. “Habits among masses are leading to higher risk of oral-health problems.” He added.

Student Salman Ahmed felt that the white coat ceremony at the beginning of the session increases one’s responsibility towards studies. “The condition of healthcare facilities in the country is at its lowest level but it also means there is room for growth and opportunities.”

Dr Baqar Askary, CEO FJDC, Dr S. Tariq Sohail, Dr Tasleem Hosein, Dr Sabiha Mirza, Dr Gulrukh Askary and others spoke on the occasion. Dr. Pirzada Qasim and Dr. Baqar Askary distributed shields among position holders and winners of various competitions.

w� ad�� H߮ penses of a private medical college for MBBS are about Rs1 million. In this way parents have to pay at least Rs5m to ‘buy’ a doctor degree for their wards, but when these half-backed doctors go in job market they seldom find a place in respectable hospitals. He said that except for a few institutions, all private medical colleges are being run with part-time faculty, with no casualty department.

He said that since big wigs are involved in this mega scandal no action is being taken against them.

He said with the manipulation the owners of private medical colleges and vested groups in public sector medical institute, a group of five people are controlling PMDC and medical education in Pakistan. In last six months many medical and dental colleges were recognized and the number of their seats had been increased without fulfilling the basic requirements of PMDC. He said with the exception of a few, no medical college in public and private sector has enough faculty members and facilities. Some of the medical colleges are functional without attached hospitals. Dr Syed said majority of medical colleges had part time faculty, which was a unique phenomenon in Pakistan. Recently, all private medical colleges have increased their fee, besides charging a lot of money in the name of donations. Sadly, the PMDC is allowing them to charge these huge fees in the name of medical education.

He said recently, the PMDC had announced election in different provinces, including Gilgit, FATA, Islamabad, but excluding Azad Jammu and Kashmir. He said it is interesting to note that in AJK we have medical colleges while there are no medical colleges in FATA and Gilgit-Baltistan. It is also fact that the PMDC has given a very short notice to the candidates to fill the forms.

He said it seemed that vested interest group in the PMDC was organising this election to make sure their nominated candidates could get elected from FATA, Gilgit-Baltisitan and at the same time honest and hardworking doctors were deprived of their right of participating in the polls.

He demanded that the PMDC should become an independent, autonomous and powerful body to monitor the medical education and training in Pakistan.

All political parties should take a clear stand and commit they would make a constitutional amendment for making the PMDC an autonomous and powerful organization.

January 30, 2013

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