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Govt spends Rs2.4m on each medical student who takes admission to a medical college on general merit seat –– File Photo
Govt spends Rs2.4m on each medical student who takes admission to a medical college on general merit seat –– File Photo

ISLAMABAD: It is a general perception in Pakistan that uneducated people do not allow women to work and girls should be provided education to make them an effective part of society.

But on Tuesday, the participants of a news conference were informed that about 50 per cent of women, who graduated from medical colleges, never worked.

Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) president Prof Dr Masood Hameed told the news conference that female medical students occupied the general merit seats in public sector medical colleges and got subsidy but after completing their education they never started their professional career.


Govt spends Rs2.4m on each medical student who takes admission to a medical college on general merit seat


Dr Hameed said at the moment there were 78037 male and 65324 female doctors, 5420 male dental practitioners and 8300 female dental practitioners in Pakistan. Out of the total medical and dental practitioners, almost 50 per cent are women, he added.

“Only 50 per cent of the female doctors are working. On the other hand, a number of doctors (mostly males) have gone out of the country. There are around 50,000 to 60,000 medical practitioners against the demand of 600,000 in the country,” he said.

“We need more medical and dental colleges. Pakistan is producing around 14,000 doctors per year out of whom 70 per cent are women. It is feared that almost 50 per cent of the medical students would never work,” he said.

Dr Hameed said in Pakistan only $9.3 were spent on the healthcare of each citizen per year against the international standard of $60.

“With such scant resources and number of medical practitioners, Pakistan cannot meet its needs for healthcare.

Moreover, migration of doctors and the rapidly increasing population is adding to the problem.”

He said so far the College of Physicians and Surgeons Pakistan (CPSP) produced only 32879 specialists out of whom 40 per cent left the country. So there are only 20000 specialists against the requirement of 100,000.

In reply to a question, Dr Hameed said the gap of specialists in the country could not be fulfilled.

“The PMDC is being restricted in its functioning by certain elements. They have refused to accept the PMDC as a regulator.”

He added that teachers currently being produced were not up to the standard that was why the quality of medical education was deteriorating.

Dr Hameed, while talking to Dawn, added that students who got admission to medical colleges on general merit seats paid around Rs15,000 to Rs20,000 fee a year, so they completed their MBBS by spending around Rs100,000.

“On the other hand, the government spends almost Rs2.5 million on each MBBS student. Unfortunately, after completion of the course, most of the female medical graduates never worked. Those who want to work try to leave the country and settle abroad, especially in the US, Saudi Arabia,” he said.

“The US prefers to get doctors from other countries because on the production of each doctor it has to spend $250,000. So the US hires the services of doctors from other countries and spends that amount in the health sector.”

The PMDC chief said he was formulating a proposal under which every student who got admission to a medical college on general seat would be bound to work in the government or private sector in the country for at least three years after graduation. Those who want to go abroad would have to pay the amount of subsidy - Rs 2.4 million - paid by the government for their medical education.

“Moreover, there is a suggestion that doctors who have studied on general merit seats and were earning well should pay back the amount of subsidy to the government. A pool should be made and doctors should be asked to deposit the amount of subsidy in it. That amount can be spent in the health sector,” he said.

Published in Dawn, October 22nd, 2014

DAWN_VIDEO - /1029551/DAWN-RM-1x1


Comments (51) Closed



nadia Oct 22, 2014 09:58am

Valid step, glad they have started looking at data and trends to make decisions, it gets so easy to present an argument and win it when it is backed by figures.

rehan Oct 22, 2014 10:17am

The Quota of female students in medical colleges needs to be reduced by 50% if that is the case. They have no right to encroach on opportunities of deserving male students if all they care about is getting married !

shabbo Oct 22, 2014 10:24am

Doctors must be bound to service for three years after Graduation...Quota system not accaptable.

responsible Oct 22, 2014 10:31am

Sorry state of a country.

Bilal Oct 22, 2014 10:39am

Or, more appropriately, 50% of all female, irrespective of their professional education, don't work after graduation.

Asad Oct 22, 2014 10:49am

No wonder some people are right when they say women have no right to education. This is a waste of precious resources. Being a female doctor is just a tag to get a better husband in our society. Women or even men for that matter who do not want to fulfill their responsibilities to this country after being paid for their education to do so, should be rounded up, fined and jailed. This attitude cannot and should not be tolerated. If certain women do not want to serve the community after getting an education paid for by the tax payer...why the ruckus for getting education then? Such women should stay home and watch morning shows on television.

white noise Oct 22, 2014 11:19am

true that, my wife is also one of them, but she graduated overseas.

she does volunteer work regularly but she just don't want to practise, and I can't force her.

Ashraf Choudhry Oct 22, 2014 11:31am

Do not take their right to study but ensure recovery from Wasters to enable three potential poor students to obtain qualification.Gents only.

Ramesh Krishnan Oct 22, 2014 11:45am

How can we say that they quit practicing by choice. Maybe their husband or his family are not allowing them to..

Feminist Oct 22, 2014 11:56am

What a waste.

Bahomans Oct 22, 2014 12:00pm

Has anyone ever made a survey or any other scientific reasoning behind that, everyone just assumes things. My wife and sister have passed FCPS part 1 exam in medicine but they are searching for FCPS part 2 training for the last 1 year but they are unable to find one in Hyderabad (which is probably 2nd or 3rd largest city in Pakistan). Unlike males they can't go to the other cities with their family for training. So you will count them in those not working but whose fault is it? Look at CPSP rules, look at local training institute rules, none of them have given them any space to work. Without looking into causes scientifically and without society giving them a little extra space, they won't be able to work.

beenish Oct 22, 2014 12:08pm

Mandatory 3years working in Pakistan is a very good suggestion.

riaz Oct 22, 2014 12:17pm

How many females who graduate from any professional college work at all..for that matter how many males who come out of professional colleges work in Pakistan before leaving for better opputunities abroad, be it government or private colleges....why not make all the paki women sit at home without education to make rotis n make each n every one of the paki men stay in their homeland to serve their country for their entire lives..reading the comments here mostly by guys shames me.....it is thinking like this which has lead to doctor wives sit at home n tend to the susral families...how can anyone even think about limiting any kind of education for girls...education is emphasized even in our religion..n everyone has a choice of deciding for themselves what they want to do with their lives...kindly do not deprive the ppl,of pakistan of watever education is accessible to wat little percentage of population it is available to...there is enough brain drain already.

saqibjahan Oct 22, 2014 12:25pm

there must be strict legislation in this regard as the govt spends a huge amount on their education and the money comes from taxes paid by the poor masses.

Ahsan Oct 22, 2014 12:40pm

There is a solution to this. If any individual be it male or female coming through the quota system fails to practice medicine in Pakistan for x number of years within the first 5 to 10 years from graduation should be asked to pay the amounts spent on them by the government.

This will resolve the issue of people who don't practice after graduating and people who go abroad immediately.

Ahsan Oct 22, 2014 12:42pm

@Asad This approach is wrong saying women do not have right to education. Also its unfair to have them jailed and penalized. I agree though that any male of female, coming through the quota system, who does not practice medicine in Pakistan for a certain number of years should be asked to pay the government in full of expenses incurred on them so that an extra seat can be added in the following term

Nizamani Oct 22, 2014 12:46pm

Disagree with PMDC as they fail conduct any systematic study to backup claims and ignoring societical factors where women are bound to serve family I.e children and husband or training and employment environment or so many other factors. This is very wrong generalization on female!please study problem on scientific basis.

Usman Oct 22, 2014 12:49pm

In this manner, they take up the placements of DESERVING MALE STUDENTS who would have been graduating and supporting their families later.

Atty Oct 22, 2014 12:50pm

@Bahomans yeah, i have witnessed it. Many of my friends waited for more than a year after passing part 1, my brother waited for few months before getting training job in another city.. Serious improvements r needed in health sector to ensure that every doctor serves within country

Shahan Ali Oct 22, 2014 01:07pm

All admissions should be on pure merit, even if its 100 percent women. the world is moving towards equal opportunity and we are bent upon moving backwards. So what if the women are not working. create an environment where women are encouraged to work. create nurseries for children near hospitals so they have to take care of the kids are home. Make the men stop having too many children. make the men do the house work as well. just because the women are busy doing household work, that men refuse to do, doesnt mean that the women seats are taken away. ridiculous!

L.Ahmad Oct 22, 2014 01:09pm

Improve working conditions, hospital system and security of health workers to retain doctors. Working conditions in many overseas countries are just too attractive to reject.

syed Golam Nabi Oct 22, 2014 01:19pm

Bangladesh Govt. appointed new doctors at village hospitals as must duty for two years. Bangladesh govt.spent 2 to 3 million Taka for each medical student but they are not interested to go village hospitals. Health minister regular monitoring their presence at hospitals and found guilty taking action punishment.

Saba Oct 22, 2014 01:32pm

@Asad I disagree that girls get good education to get good husbands. On the contrary every boy wants a doctor for his wife but once married he doesnt want his wife to work. Or maybe his family doesnt. Anyone who works hard to get his/her education would never want to waste it ... nor would his/her own parents, who sacrifice just as much.

Adil Oct 22, 2014 01:43pm

Pay them well and they will practice in Pakistan! Simple.

Dr Kamran Oct 22, 2014 01:53pm

The PMDC must expediate its regulation and make it mandatory for all the females who get admission in a public sector medical colleges to submit an affidavit that they will work after graduation. The degree shouldn't be just a tool to find a suitable dohla or rishta.. This must stop!

zuhaib Oct 22, 2014 01:58pm

And those who after getting mbbs degree appeared in the css test and become a css officer also westing the money on mbbs should think about this matter also

KH Oct 22, 2014 01:59pm

Agreed with Asad. First it is the duty of Govt. to provide jobs with best packages to the citizens/doctors and investigate defaulters who is making 50% losses to our health care. But why Govt. is not taking action for this? But I am not sure that open merit admission is Rs 15-16k.

ashok kumar lal Oct 22, 2014 02:13pm

why it happens is more important.will somebody try to explain

imran Oct 22, 2014 02:19pm

PMDC and its rules for training institutions and hospitals are actually the reason for all this .

Sardar Ahmed Gujjar Oct 22, 2014 02:32pm

I am father of two female doctor students. I have rejected marriage proposals of those boys which was considering to marry a doctor girl for status. It is really sorry situation that many of their class fellows are getting married to boys and leaving profession. It is really waste of talent. A person who spent half of her life in getting toughest education should be barred to serve and to get recognition as a professional.

Atanu Oct 22, 2014 02:35pm

Very sad.. Why should their fate be decided by someone else.... Come out of these anarchic thoughts please

imran ali Oct 22, 2014 02:37pm

very nice analysis..but how many male doctors opt for Civil services and business?. Regarding Rs2.5 million spend on each MBBS student........these money are not directly spend on student rather on patient,building medicine etc,there is no security for the doctors,many doctors are targeted and killed in clinic,hospital as a result many of these doctors going abroad

M. Malik Oct 22, 2014 03:15pm

And yet, there is already a shortage of doctors and nurses in the US and western Europe.

Such a shame that valuable talent goes to waste, when more female doctors in Pakistan can be in the forefront to reduce child mortality within the country, and export their knowledge and skills worldwide.

Oz Oct 22, 2014 03:43pm

@Shahan Ali 100% true, very accurate solution.

Sami Oct 22, 2014 04:55pm

Provide doctors with better pay and incentives, for sure they will stay in Pakistan and love to work in their own country. Filling up the surety bonds will not work.

Agha Ata Oct 22, 2014 06:08pm

True, because their husbands never let them work.

saleemi Oct 22, 2014 06:37pm

We need to determine the reasons which discourage female doctors to work. Given secure working atmosphere &family support can improve the situation . One should not conclude that it is always an option .

karim Oct 22, 2014 08:22pm

It is fault of parents and society, not the poor girls.

Oct 22, 2014 08:25pm

In a free society no one should be forced to work or to remain idle at home . More ever in a globalized world everyone has the right to go wherever they want.Our govt spend taxpayer's money of all the country to produce an elite class of doctors who are more interested in their own careers rather than reciprocating the benefits back to the community. Government subsidized medical education should be aimed at benefiting the community rather than making a few dirty rich. This can be done by binding govt subsidized education to service in the country.If anyone find the pay low, he shouldn't pursue medical education because it's not for making money.

Crude Nipster Oct 22, 2014 09:23pm

@shabbo A government which can't even compel its people to pay taxes would be able to make doctors to fulfil their duties. How Ridiculous! How can one even think of that possibility ?

Sam Oct 22, 2014 11:19pm

@Asad No one can snatch a person's right to get education. And getting education doesn't bound you to working. Everyone has an equal right to choose what he/she thinks is good for his/her future. No one asks you to give money for their education. If they are capable enough to get the admission on merit, no one can stop them to do so. Women have a better purpose in life other than leaving their homes for earning money.

Farhan Ali Oct 23, 2014 12:56am

What a Discrimination!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!, you are putting such a worse condition in an already gender discriminated society. This is the worst step any civilized society can have. Instead government should come forward with some steps to encourage female doctors to work, should provide them a better environment, may be some more incentives, or they can come up with some clause that every graduated student must have to work for some specific period of time.

Umar Oct 23, 2014 05:11am

@Shahan Ali Completely agree!! These are hard working ambitious women who get into the medical school and complete extremely demanding education and training on time. If we are unable to keep these women in our medical work force, then this is the failure of the society and of our medical system and not of those women. By taking this opportunity from those who have worked hard to earn it through implementation of a quota system is very discouraging.

Syed Husain Oct 23, 2014 06:49am

The nation invests a lot of money and resources on students for medical education. All doctors, men and women must be made to serve the country for at least five (5) years after graduation. and the medical doctors should not be allowed to become politicians.

hasan Oct 23, 2014 09:15am

The notion seems quite impressive yet not rationale in pakistan. while highlighting this issue one must not forget the fact that paksitan is the amongst those country where maternal moratality rate is alarmingly high & the most most reason being the unavailability of lady doctors who the most of our community women are allowed to. so reducing the quota for the females may not be the solution yet it would deteriorate the health system in pakistan.

Ather Ali Oct 23, 2014 09:45am

PMDC and CPSP standards are well known to all. CPSP is maintaining the standards of specialists well as per international standards. Specialist with MCPS/FCPS credentials comfortably selected on merit on any international hiring. PMDC should raise their standards then think to take CPSP in command.

Ather Ali Oct 23, 2014 09:47am

Do any one know, how much CPSP spend to make one specialist MCPS/FCPS ? I think they are on other side.

Dermatologist Oct 23, 2014 11:56am

with due respect, if PMDC inspite of cutting of female quota , should work for providing better job opportunities by making proper legislations would do more good for those females who are surviving in the medical field. doing FCPS part 1 and not getting residency is now an everyday problem with females, who wants to work but no place . Even after doing FCPS part 2 in dermatology i m looking for a job... so why u blame specialist to go out because u r not offering opportunities in our country. JUST think of a moment by cutting quota for females u r actually favouring cutting medical facilities for common ladies our mothers, daughters, sisters, all parda observing muslim females who don't want to get examined for skin conditions, obstetric reason, even for medical reason to male specialist.... Just ask this to your female house members even yourselves .This Problem needs a huge Frame Shift in thinking of common people , let them make aware of importance of working female doctor, not cutting the brains, plz cut negative thoughts . and who don't work by will make law for them.

Maryyum Oct 23, 2014 06:45pm

@Asad Ha. This is extremely amusing. As if women want to waste their time, money and efforts only to not even practice in the end. Let's talk about WHY women don't practice. I've heard men go "I want you to be home when I get home. Don't work 24/7." MEN. Men want trophy wives. They want wives to get an education but not enough so that they're independent. MEN want wives at home. Men want wives not working. Women get an education only to be stiffled by men, not unlike you, who think women have no right to education. Do not exclaim women have no rights when it's YOUR gender that has demands that result in statistics like this.

syed salman shah Oct 23, 2014 09:34pm

instead of doing this and sparking fire for the issue of gender discrimination , The public and private sectors both should have a proper committee where when a student passes the test , he/she has to go through a series of interviews , where psychologists may assess the level of students and whether they are serious in being doctors , because not just women, even men once graduate go for other fields ! proper filtration is required.

Zain Oct 24, 2014 12:02pm

Check the figures again regarding govt expenditure on health sector which is minimum that means its not among their priorities and its just to SHOW ppl GOVT is providing healthcare services.

Major tertiary care hospitals are run by PGRS mostly who dare to stay in Pakistan but they remain unpaid for years even and later prefer to leave.. While situation in periphery is worse as no one likes to work under constant threat to their own and family lives for refusal to accommodate fake FIR and Medico legal cases, and also treatment facilities are almost nil.

Building new medical colleges is not solution to this rather concrete steps are needed to create a satisfactory environment to stop doctors in country or nothing will change even if 100 new colleges are started.

At the end its general public who suffers from these failed policies rather these policy makers who go abroad to get their treatment.