ISLAMABAD: The elected president of the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) and Minster of National Health Services Saira Afzal Tarar have vowed to ensure transparency in the working of the council.

After remaining at loggerheads for almost three years, the PMDC and the ministry were finally on good terms on Friday as the minister and the council president addressed mediapersons jointly.

They claimed that in next six months the things would completely change in the health sector.

Soon after the inauguration of the PML-N government in 2013, ministry of NHS and the PMDC relations went sour as the council was being indirectly controlled by Dr Asim Hussain, who was a former vice president of the council and very close to the PPP.

On the other hand, the ministry wanted control over the PMDC and it stopped ratifying the decisions of the council as according to rules the council takes decisions and the ministry notifies and publish them in Gazette of Pakistan.

Council president, minister set six months deadline to improve things in health sector

The situation went from bad to worse when the PMDC condemned the arrest of Dr Asim Hussain by Sindh Rangers in August 2015, and termed the move shocking for education and health sectors.

Very next day President Mamnoon Hussain promulgated Pakistan Medical and Dental Council Amendment Ordinance 2015, as a result of which executive council of the PMDC was dissolved.

A new management committee, headed by retired Maj-Gen Azhar Kayani, was established and it held elections in December 2015 and a management committee, headed by Dr Shabbir Lehri, took over the charge of the council on January 16.

While speaking at the press conference Minster of National Health Services Saira Afzal Tarar expressed the hope that the medical sector would usher in a new era.

“I want to ensure that now the recommendations of the council will be implemented in the best interest of the medical colleges, faculty, students and people at large,” she said, adding now professional and competent people are at the helm of the council, who will definitely improve things.

She said the mushroom growth of medical colleges needed attention of the council.

“Though former management has registered a few colleges, the elected management should look into the new registrations and is empowered to order re-inspection of those colleges. As far as corruption in the past is concerned National Accountability Bureau and Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) are dealing with the cases,” Ms Tarar said.

The PMDC president, Dr Lehri, claimed that the politics and corruption had severely affected the council in the past so transparency would be ensured in all decisions of the council.

“We will again inspect the medical colleges registered by the interim management and if they are found deficient in any aspect they will be closed. We are also taking steps to eradicate politics from the ministry,” he said.

Former Minister and member of the council Dr Sania Nishtar, who was also present on the occasion, appreciated the nomination of a number of nonpolitical personalities as members of the council.

Published in Dawn, January 30th, 2016