By Dr. Tayaba Naim Khan
Lahore: The School of Public Health and Sciences or SPHIS, University of Louisville has launched its first Masters of Public Health program in Lahore, Pakistan beginning in fall 2014.
According to Craig Blakely, the decision to bring the first ever US degree program to Pakistan was based on the dire need to develop the public health structure of the country. He stated that Pakistan as a nation has suffered many natural calamities which have led to massive mortality and morbidity figures due to lack of efficient public health care systems. He believes that there are many ‘opportunities to favorably impact key aspects of population health’ to work upon. There have been at least 130076 conservative estimated death figures from 1950 till 2010 in natural disasters in Pakistan and millions of morbidities and displacements. Other public health disasters lead to
The partnership is between the NUR Foundation and Fatima Memorial System with SPHIS. Both these institutes have been actively providing services in the area of public health, disaster management and public welfare.
The University of Louisville has been actively engaged in various natural disasters of Pakistan. The 2005 earthquake alone left around 86,000 people dead with another 3 million homeless in Northern Pakistan. Dr Adeel Haq, then an M.D. senior resident in Emergency Medicine at the University of Louisville School of Medicine worked tirelessly towards raising a fund of $16,000.00. He then traveled to Battargam, a makeshift tent village where he began providing services to patients received there. His efforts led him to to win the award of Volunteer in Medicine in the university. His efforts raised awareness and urgency in creating an offshoot program within Pakistan to make the country ready to handle natural disasters should they arise.
The program is currently being offered in two concentrations, biostatistics and epidemiology. The Universities hope to draw in international fundings for its projects, and is currently engaged in student and faculty recruitment.