IN our country, there is a general perception that the medical fields are all about making money. While this may be true in case of MBBS and BDS, the students in other medical fields, such as physiotherapy, pharmacy, medical imaging, medical lab sciences and many others, cannot even find a decent job after completing their degree, leave alone minting money.
I am a fifth-year student of the Doctor of Physical Therapy course at a private university in Lahore.
Everyone in the larger field of medical sciences these days is talking about the tug-of-war between the proponents of the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) and the Pakistan Medical Commission (PMC), but no one ever takes notice of the plight of physiotherapy students who do not even have a council to secure their rights.
It is a five-year bachelor’s degree programme. I am studying in a good institution recognised by the Higher Education Commission (HEC), but there are many local colleges that offer physiotherapy degree without enough labs and affiliated hospitals. Thousands of students study in such colleges.
The HEC and the government are least bothered about the issue. The government, when headed by Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, had given approval for establishing a council for physiotherapists, but there has not been any progress in that direction. The absence of such a council is a big cause of unemployment among qualified physiotherapists.
Even the Punjab government offers only two to three positions in government hospitals every year for physiotherapists.
The government and the HEC should take due action in this regard and establish a council to give physiotherapists a platform to raise their voice, besides keeping a check on the standard of all colleges that offer physiotherapy degree programmes. The future of thousands of physiotherapists is at stake, and this must be remembered.
M. Sameet Malik
Published in Dawn, July 5th, 2022