ISLAMABAD: After China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), China and Pakistan are making efforts to build ‘health and knowledge corridor’ to bring revolutionary changes in the health sector.

The health experts of Pakistan visited China last week to discuss Pakistan’s health issues and next month a delegation from China will visit Pakistan to finalise the agreement regarding health corridor.

The CPEC has become one of the most important projects of the world. It is expected that the project worth of over $40 billion will change the geopolitics of the region and will bring unprecedented economic development in Pakistan. On the other hand for China the project is the first step towards fulfilling its dream of ‘one belt one road’ which will attach three continents i.e. Asia, Europe and Africa and its projects will be exported through this route.

Both countries will constitute joint examination board for medical students

Pakistani delegation headed by Vice Chancellor of the Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto Medical University (Pims) Dr Javed Akram visited China last week and discussed collaboration in health sector.

Moreover, an idea of a joint examination board was also discussed during the visit. The board will address the problems of hundreds of Pakistani doctors who have completed their education from China but could not do practice here.

Dr Akram while talking to Dawn said that during his visit to Kunming, capital of Yunnan province, detailed deliberations were held with the Chinese authorities.

“We visited the Kunming Medical University and hospital. The newly built 1,300-bed hospital is totally paperless because of the use of information technology. Moreover, different transplant facilities such as kidney and liver are also provided there,” he said.

“We discussed student and faculty exchange programmes and decided to adopt collaborative approach to address the health issues and take steps for the capacity building of the institutions of both the countries,” he said.

While replying to a question he said that currently a number of medical students, who had passed their exams from China, were not allowed to practice in Pakistan. Once the Joint Examination Board is established it will become possible to allow the students to start practice in Pakistan without going through the process of National Examination Board (NEB), he added.

NEB is conducted by Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) for those medical graduates who pass exam from abroad.

In 2012, through an Act of Parliament it was made mandatory for foreign graduates to pass the NEB for doing practice in Pakistan. However some postgraduate qualifications like diploma of American Board, FRCS (UK) or equivalent are exempted from the NEB.

“By next month, a delegation of China headed by the President of Kunming Medical University Professor Lee Kong will visit Pakistan to finalise the agreements for health corridor,” Dr Akram said.

“We expect that health corridor will bring drastic changes in the health sector and improve the health facilities in the country which include the use of information technology in the health sector which will reduce load on the tertiary care hospitals,” he said.

“We will be able to link the health centers of the rural areas of the city with Pims due to which people will prefer to get treatment in their villages instead of visiting Pims for small problems and issues,” he said.

Published in Dawn, June 26th, 2016