LAHORE: The University of Health Sciences (UHS) on Monday started a certificate in medicolegal examination, claiming it the first-ever certification course of its kind in the country.
It would focus on the domains of forensic medicine and medical jurisprudence and intend to enhance the competent, ethical, and professional practice as a medicolegal expert.
The medico-legal process refers to the physical examination at a mandated health facility of victims of unnatural death or injury, possibly involving criminality, that could have legal repercussions.A spokesperson for the UHS said here on Monday the course has been initiated in response to an order from the Lahore High Court, issued last year, urging the Punjab government to improve the qualification of examiners for medico-legal cases.
He said the court had directed both, primary & secondary healthcare and specialised healthcare & medical education departments to ensure that medical examiners meet the minimum qualification threshold and no unqualified and inexperienced doctor be posted to perform such a crucial and sensitive job.
400 candidates to be trained in batches of 40 per month over a span of two years
This course is the outcome of a collaborative effort involving the primary & secondary healthcare department, Health Information & Service Delivery Unit (HISDU), Punjab Forensic Science Agency (PFSA), and UHS.The course itself is modular, spanning one month, and is designed as a hands-on training programme. It aims to provide practical training experiences to medical officers (MOs), women medical officers (WMOs), and dental surgeons hailing from various regions of Punjab. Training encompasses a wide range of subjects, including toxicology, traumatology, autopsy, medical law, ethics, medicolegal report writing, identification, sample handling, preservation, and electronic data management. The training sites include the forensic medicine department at Jinnah Campus UHS, Services and Jinnah hospitals, Lahore General Hospital, and PFSA.
With the involvement of over 20 subject experts, this project seeks to train approximately 400 candidates in batches of 40 per month over a span of two years.
Participants will be required to complete logbook assignments and submit portfolios for assessment during the certification examination.
Certified medico legal officers will play a vital role in aiding the court of law by providing expert medicolegal opinions, thereby contributing to the pursuit of justice for victims.
Addressing at the inaugural session, UHS VC Prof Ahsan Waheed Rathore appreciated the efforts of the team and emphasised the critical need for this course, particularly in situations involving the provision of medicolegal opinions for identifying disaster victims, investigating allegations of sexual and physical assault, and addressing issues of drug misuse and abuse.He said the opinion of a medical examiner is not only relevant but also most pivotal in the criminal justice system and at times it plays a decisive role coupled with other evidence.
He remarked that the guarantee of fair trial was a wishful expectation without a medico-legal system comprising of experts having adequate qualification and skills. The UHS designated focal person for the course, Prof Sarah Ghafoor, said the course’s development involved extensive consultations with subject matter experts.
She said the university has made comprehensive logistical arrangements, including accommodation and transportation, for all course participants at Jinnah Campus and various training sites.
Published in Dawn, October 3rd, 2023