Medical education, a status symbol for Female students?
Karachi, Jan 26: Female medical students enrol into the programme given the
'prestige' associated with the profession, said a doctor. The doctor in
question, who graduated from Dow Medical College (DMC) in 2005, taught at a
private medical college for over a year. However, once she got married, she had
to resign since she was moving abroad for a while.
According to her, it
is difficult to find a job in public-sector hospitals. Not only this but also,
the work environment there is not conducive to women. Patients do not give
female doctors respect. In fact, sometimes, female doctors are also subjected to
maltreatment. She recalled that when she was doing her house job at the Civil
Hospital Karachi (CHK), the father of a prominent political worker suffering
from stroke was admitted there. His party workers ransacked the hospital for a
"minor reason", and even mistreated the female doctors there.
said that it's not the poor salary packages and night shifts that discourage
female doctors but the way they are treated that forces them to stay
She suggested that fresh graduates should be appointed in the areas
from which they hail (which sometimes include rural areas) as doctors are needed
there. Unfortunately, most of them prefer to stay back and work in urban
Another female doctor who graduated from the Sindh Medical College
(SMC) in 2006 said she was unable to practice because soon after her exams, she
got married. Her husband is financially well-off, and she said that her in-laws
preferred it if she "looked after her family" rather than go out and
The doctor in question is now the mother of a one-year old girl and
says that she "cannot think of practicing along with raising my
Dr Sidra Ahmed, a graduate of Jinnah Medical and Dental
College, said that it is unfair to generalise this issue. According to Dr Ahmed,
there are a lot of girls from her class who are married and are practicing. "I
think most women want to become doctors not because they want a good marriage
proposal, but because this is the only profession that has scope all over the
world and even one moves abroad, you can still practice," she explained.
Professionals call for male-only
Karachi: A large number of medical college graduates are showing an
increasing reluctance to pursue their careers, with health professionals warning
that the shortage of doctors in the country is likely to get worse in the coming
Many male doctors prefer to either practice abroad or join another
profession owing to lack of incentives in the medical field, and it has been
learnt that many female graduates refrain from finding any employment at all,
even though the majority of students in medical colleges are women. "In almost
all medical colleges, more and more females are getting admissions," said M.
Rafiq Khanani, Head of Pathology Department, Dow International Medical
Khanani believes that this is because girls are more focused in
their studies. Previously, there was a difference in the number of seats
allotted for boys and girls in medical colleges, complete with different
academic requirements for both. This changed following a Supreme Court ruling in
the early 1990s which stated that all admissions be based on merit without
discrimination, and not on quota. Both boys and girls are now on equal footing
competing for seats, but regardless of this, the ratio of girls to boys in
government colleges is 70:30.
"About 40 percent to 50 percent of girls
who graduate from medical colleges choose to get married, become housewives and
raise a family,' he said. "Just half of these lady doctors re-enter the field
after a few years. The remainder never practice."
It has been estimated
that five to 10 percent of female doctors leave the country after getting
married. Many of them only practice or embark on their post-graduate studies if
their husbands allow it. This lack of female doctors entering the field has
proved to be a cause for grave concern among doctors in the
According to Dr Tipu Sultan, former principal Dow Medical
College, "only women who face financial problems look for jobs while many of the
boys begin work because they are the breadwinners."
In a study he
conducted recently, Sultan discovered an alarming trend: the reason most
families opted to send their daughters to medical schools was so that the girls
could get a "good husband". After finding such a match, however, many find that
they cannot work. Dr Samrina Hashmi, Secretary General Pakistan Medical
Association (PMA) blames society for preventing many of the girls from
"In developed countries, girls can get a part-time
job and leave their children at day-care centres while they work," she said.
"Here, many cannot work because their husband insists it, or because their
in-laws do not allow them to perform night duties. As a result, the majority of
female doctors sit idle at home. Manpower is being wasted."
predicts that if this continues, there will be an acute shortage of doctors in
the next five to 10 years. Already, she said, there is just one specialist for
14,000 patients and one doctor for 2,500 patients. In addition, private
hospitals regularly advertise for doctors, particularly those who can work at
night, but they get no response.
She said that employment should be made
compulsory for a set number of years after graduation and be counted as
A quarter of the female graduates who do end up practicing have
a preference for general practice. Fifteen percent opt for post-graduate
training in OB/GYN, 10 percent for paediatrics, five percent in ultrasound and
five percent in other specialties. "Around two to three percent enter other
fields," said Khanani. "Many of them become school teachers."
believes it is time to reintroduce the quota system of admission, or barring
that, opening up medical colleges just for boys. Out of a total of 73 medical
colleges in the country, 29 are in the public sector. Sultan pointed out that
six of these government medical colleges are for girls only, such as Fatima
Jinnah Medical College in Lahore and People's Medical College in Nawabshah, but
none for men only.
However, he is not optimistic about either of his
solutions. "Nobody is interested in approaching the courts to review the
decision in light of recent developments," he commented, adding "Health is not
on the agenda of the government, and private medical colleges are more
interested in making money." The News
"i think these old customs are changing now leading many conservative pakistani families to a moderation.Trends are changing.Here in peshwar an increase in jobs of female doctors has been seen.and i think now going back to the rules of 90s is not the solution of the problem.instead there are many other like increasing pay a little and taking day shift duty from them etc etc.times are changing and we should be satisfied with the court verdict regarding female students admission.also due to their hard work and concentration uppon studies they are much more brilliant than male students...thats why,our batch was being topped always by a girl..hehe."
Name: Dr.ASIF MARWAT
City, Country: peshawar, Pakistan
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