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PMA criticises evening classes proposal

April 17, 2011

LAHORE, April 17: The Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) has condemned a proposal forwarded by the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) to President Asif Ali Zardari regarding launching of evening shifts in the public and private medical colleges of the country.

In a press release issued here on Sunday, the PMA has termed the proposal an attempt by some influential PMDC office-bearers to please the owners of the private medical colleges.

PMA office-bearers Dr Mirza Ali Azhar, Dr Ashraf Nizami, Dr Akhtar Rashid, Dr Tanveer Anwar, Dr Izhar Chaudhry, Dr Shahid Malik, and Dr Salman Kazmi have threatened to launch a strong agitation if the PMDC did not withdraw the proposal.

“PMA and medical educationists are in a state of shock that how a person no less than the president of the country can take such an impracticable idea seriously,” they said in a joint statement, adding that it seemed the president had been misguided by a group with vested interest.

Dr Salman Kazmi said at the moment there were 108 public and private medical colleges in the country and at least more than a dozen others were in the pipeline. Each medical college was producing more than 100 doctors every year that meant on an average 15,000 doctors were being churned out annually, he said.

“So it is not the matter of shortage of doctors which is compelling our policy makers to adopt a strategy which, if adopted, will further deteriorate medical education in the country that was already sub-standard,” Dr Kazmi said.

He emphasised the need to focus on quality of healthcare in medical institutions instead of the number of doctors.

As far as the quality of medical education in the existing medical colleges was concerned, it was far below the standards set by the PMDC, he added.

“Not even one medical college in the country fulfills the criteria of a complete medical faculty,” Dr Kazmi claimed. He said even teachers of basic medical sciences were not available to teach the students.

Regarding the clinical training of the doctors, he said, according to the PMDC regulations, every 500-bed hospital was required to be attached with a teaching institution, which was not the case with most of the medical colleges.

Terming it an unrealistic idea, the PMA says: “If allowed to happen, it will destroy the medical education in the country, open the doors of corruption, produce ill-trained medical graduates or glorified quacks at a heavy cost,” Dr Kazmi stated.

The PMA has demanded the proposal should immediately be shelved and all steps be taken to improve the existing medical education in the country as per PMDC guidelines.