PESHAWAR, May 6: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa health department is establishing another medical college to overcome shortage of doctors and produce more health professionals to cater to the needs of growing number of patients in the province.
“The new college, to be called Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto Medical College, will start admission from the next academic year. A total of 100 students would be enrolled at the college,” said Prof Noorul Iman, special secretary health.
A summary in this regard had been sent to the chief minister that would get approved in a couple of days, he said. Under the plan, the college would offer 50 per cent seats to students on normal fee and 20 per cent would go to foreign student on self-finance basis with each student paying $6,000 per year, he said.Twenty per cent of seats would be offered to local students on self-finance basis with each student paying Rs400,000 per year while 10 per cent of the seats would be filled by sons and daughters of the employees of the health department.
Prof Iman said that the province had already eight medical colleges in public sector that produced 15,000 doctors every year.
The shortage of doctors prompted the government to establish more colleges to cope with the growing population and number of patients in the province.
He said that they announced 500 vacant posts of doctors recently but didn’t find the desired number of qualified medics.
“About 1,200 doctors applied for the posts, of whom 500 had got their degrees from China and Afghanistan and therefore were not suitable to be appointed,” he said.
Despite being short-listed 106 doctors didn’t attend the interviews, he said. Similarly, the government failed to appoint 50 district specialists, announced recently, he said. The government appointed only six gynecologists against the total posts of 37 owing to shortage of doctors, he said.
The special secretary health said that likewise, only six physicians were appointed at district headquarters hospitals last month while there were 37 vacant posts. “It means that 31 posts are still vacant,” he added.
He said that they had decided to set more colleges to produce more doctors. According to him, the government will not appoint those doctors, who got degrees from other countries and could not qualify the test conducted by Pakistan Medical and Dental Council.
The government is spending Rs6 billion on Khalifa Gul Nawaz Hospital for Bannu Medical College while ZAB Medical College will use Lady Reading Hospital as teaching facility where no cost is involved.
“This project is most viable because we have already a strong teaching faculty at LRH. The government spends Rs25 million on the salaries of consultants but they don’t teach,” Prof Iman said, adding that the consultants would teach students of ZAB Medical College without getting additional amount for the purpose.
The new college would require Rs5 million for the salaries of the teaching staff, to be hired for basic sciences departments.
Another Rs300 million would be required for the purchase of equipment and putting in place other facilities, he added.
He said that the college would generate Rs240 million from the admissions on self-finance basis. The ZAB Medical College had already got a building at Provincial Health Services Academy, he said. The building was originally constructed for Postgraduate Institute of Paramedics but had been converted into medical college.
“We have planned to give alternate building to the paramedics at Lady Reading Hospital. The paramedics have also got an institute at LRH that will be upgraded,” he added.