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Saudi Arabia recognises doctors’ postgraduate degrees

Updated April 19, 2019

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Postgraduate doctors who have completed MS and MD will now be able to work in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states. — AFP/File
Postgraduate doctors who have completed MS and MD will now be able to work in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states. — AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: A significant obstacle in the way of thousands of postgraduate doctors in Pakistan who have completed MS (Doctor of Surgery) and MD (Doctor of Medicine) qualifications has been removed, as Saudi Arabia has recognised their degrees after 11 years.

Because of the decision, doctors will now be able to work in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states.

Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims) Executive Director Dr Ejaz Qadeer told Dawn there are around 200 students at the hospital completing their MS and MD qualifications.

“Although MS and MD degrees are recognised as clinical degrees in Pakistan, in Saudi Arabia both degrees were considered research degrees, due to which degree holders were not allowed to practice there. The fact is that in Pakistan, both MS and MDs work in hospitals and get clinical work experience,” he said.

“It would be good for our doctors, as they are trained at Pims and after completing their training they will be able to work abroad,” he said.

In response to a question, Dr Qadeer said that Bachelor of Medicine Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) students take admission in MS and MD courses, which take another four years to complete.

University of Health Sciences Vice Chancellor Dr Javed Akram told Dawn this matter was brought to his knowledge when he was the vice chancellor of Shaheed Zuifikar Ali Bhutto Medical University.

“At the time there were around 400 students, of which 200 were doing MS/MD and the others were doing College of Physicians and Surgeons Pakistan (CPSP). I was informed that students of CPSP were allowed to practice in Saudi Arabia and requested by the students to take up the matter with Saudi Arabia because when Saudi Arabia stops them from working they cannot work in other Gulf states,” he said.

“I met with Saudi authorities last month to address the issue. The Saudi Commission for Health Specialities has officially notified that different postgraduate degrees, such as MS, MD, MDS, MPhil and PhD are recognised in Saudi Arabia,” he said.

Dr Akram said that because of the notification consultants in the Gulf states will be able to conduct clinical practice there and contribute to sending foreign exchange to the country.

The decision has also been praised by the Association of University Physicians and Surgeons Pakistan.

Published in Dawn, April 19th, 2019