ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Medical Commission (PMC) on Saturday stated that after completing the mandatory requirements to become eligible for the World Federation for Medical Education (WFME) for recognition of its accreditation programme, it has applied to the federation to initiate the process.

The statement comes in the wake of apprehension that graduates from medical colleges in Pakistan may not be able to appear in the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE), which is mandatory for practice in the US, after January 2024.

The defunct Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) had also initiated the process for the WFME accreditation and invited its delegation to visit Pakistan, but in 2019 the PMDC was dissolved and replaced with the PMC. Subsequently, the process went off-track.

The PMC claimed that in the first step WFME, after assessing the PMC’s application, had approved its eligibility for the WFME recognition as an accrediting body and its accreditation programme.

Says process expected to be completed in one year

“PMC and WFME will now coordinate to schedule the visit of WFME’s international assessors who will undertake a site visit to Pakistan to inspect the PMC and its entire regulatory systems as well as physically inspecting multiple colleges recognised by the PMC. The entire process, including physical site assessment and inspection, is expected to be completed within 12 months and certainly before 2024,” it stated.

“WFME recognition of PMC and its accreditation programme will enable all colleges recognised and accredited by PMC to be considered as WFME accredited and graduates of these colleges licensed by PMC would have the ability to train and work in the USA and internationally without any restriction.”

“PMC will be launching next week an extensive National Recognition Programme for the WFME recognition focusing on assisting all medical colleges in capacity building so as to ensure every college meets the new 2022 accreditation standards,” the body stated.

In addition, Pakistani doctors’ association in the US has agreed to provide its continued support to the PMC to achieve the WFME recognition with its members providing their time and resources to assist in the national programme being launched by commission, it stated.

The PMC also said the Federal State Medical Boards (FSMB) of the United States that conduct the USMLE licensing exam along with the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME) in the United States have agreed to the request of PMC President Dr Arshad Taqi to collaborate on multiple areas, specifically for sharing technical knowledge and assistance to improve the standard and structure of PMC’s National Licensing Exam.

As part of the collaboration, a high-level delegation consisting of the top leadership of FSMB, NBME and also IAMRA, which is the International Association of Medical Regulators, will be visiting Pakistan early in 2023 to initiate the collaboration programmes.

In addition to meeting the PMC and stakeholders, they will also be visiting some top medical colleges and teaching hospitals in Pakistan, it stated.

The US Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG), after realising that the quality of foreign graduates was deteriorating due to mushroom growth of private-for-profit colleges, on Sept 21, 2010, announced that after January 2023 only graduates of countries having recognition from WFME will be allowed to appear in USMLE.

Published in Dawn, August 14th, 2022

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