ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) has permitted medical and dental students from Gaza to complete their studies in Pakistan.

The council’s decision will enable Palestinian students from Gaza to continue their medical education in Pakistan on humanitarian grounds, ensuring that their studies are not interrupted due to the challenging circumstances in their home country.

The PMDC Council held a meeting and took this decision on the request of Pakistan’s High Commissioner in United Kingdom Dr Mohammad Faisal. He suggested that the students from Gaza be adjusted in Pakistan in view of the prevailing situation so that an opportunity could be provided to them to pursue their medical degrees and contribute to the healthcare sector in Gaza.

In the absence of any specific provision of clinical rotation of foreign students in Pakistan, on the request of the high commission, the matter was placed before the council.

The Pakistani High Commission proposed that the students will be coming in batches of 20 and 30, with an expected number of 100 students, and upon completion of their clinical placement in Pakistan, they will graduate from universities of Gaza for clinical rotations in Pakistani medical colleges and attached teaching hospitals in the public sector, as a special case.

A committee is to be constituted headed by PMDC president and council members, including representatives from ministries of foreign affairs and national health services, to smoothly execute induction of these students into Pakistani medical education system.

Talking to reporters, PMDC President Prof Dr Rizwan Taj explained that it was the need of the hour.

“Gaza students will have the opportunity to learn in a well-equipped environment, which might be lacking in their home country due to ongoing conflicts and resource constraints,” he said, adding that acquiring medical education in Pakistan can provide medical students from Gaza with numerous benefits that they can take back to their country.

He said medical education in Pakistan could also open up opportunities for international collaboration. “Graduates can establish connections with global health organisations, attracting resources, expertise and support for healthcare projects in Gaza,” he added.

The PMDC president said exposure to various medical specialties during their education in Pakistan allowed students to pursue specific areas of interest.

“They will gain specialised skills in fields such as cardiology, orthopedics, oncology, pediatrics or surgery, addressing critical needs in Gaza’s healthcare system,” he added.

Dr Taj went on to say that graduates could serve as trainers and mentors for other healthcare professionals in Gaza by sharing their knowledge and skills and could help raise the overall standard of medical practice in their community.

With exposure to research and innovative medical practices, these students can contribute to healthcare needs, he said, adding that this initiative will nurture a sense of solidarity and support among countries facing similar challenges.

Dr Taj said by offering educational opportunities to Gaza students, the PMDC and Pakistan demonstrated their commitment to humanitarian aid and support for regions affected by conflict and instability.

Due to the ongoing conflict many students are facing disruptions in their education, by providing them with the opportunity to study in Pakistan, the PMDC is helping them achieve their education, he said.

Published in Dawn, July 4th, 2024

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