KARACHI: Sindh Health Minister Dr Azra Fazal Pechuho on Monday directed the authorities to expedite work for setting up two boys-only medical colleges in the province currently facing an acute shortage of doctors.

She issued these directives while chairing a meeting, which was also attended by Vice Chancellor of Liaquat University of Medical and Health Sciences (LUMHS), Jamshoro Dr Ikramuddin Ujjan, MPAs from Dadu Mujib-ul-Haq, Abdul Aziz Junejo and others.

The minister was of the opinion that male doctors could work better in tough conditions of remote rural areas for which it’s important that the province had more boys-only medical colleges.

According to health department officials, one medical college would be set up in Landhi, which would be affiliated with the Dow University of Health Sciences, while the other would be established in Hyderabad and to be affiliated with LUMHS. Each college would have 100 seats.

80pc of medical graduates are female

The need to have boys-only medical colleges has long been advocated by medial fraternity and civil society since 80 per cent of around 4,500 doctors, who annually graduate in Sindh, are girls.

Sources said half of these girls did not pursue their careers as they got married and were not allowed by their families to take up a professional role in society. Half of the male doctors left for greener pastures, they added.

“It’s not just a huge waste of precious talent but also resources. Girls who opt for their careers often refuse night duties at hospitals even in a city like Karachi. So, working in other districts is simply out of the question where there is a lack of facilities in healthcare settings and greater security issues,” said Dr Abdul Ghafoor Shoro of the Pakistan Medical Association.

On behalf of his association, he appreciated the government initiatives of setting up boys-only medical colleges. “But, the government needs to ensure that students get the best of education and training at these new colleges,” he said.

Plan pending since 2019

Sources said that the proposal to set up a boys-only medical college in Landhi had been pending since 2019.

The proposal was made official in 2019 but the idea could not be materialised due to funds shortage, the sources said, adding that work was being expedited and it was hoped that funds would be allocated for the project in the upcoming budget.

“A building was already there that has now been renovated and to be utilised for medical college education,” said an official, adding that the first boys-only medical college in the country named the Bilawal Bhutto Medical College (BBMC) was already functioning in Jamshoro.

The BBMC, he said, was affiliated with the LUMHS, Jamshoro, while the 500-bed TB hospital being run by the Sindh government was named as its affiliated teaching hospital.

Published in Dawn,May 24th, 2022

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