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Medical education a patient in need of surgery

Doctors say institutions incapable of performing role defined by World Health Organisation
Lahore, May 11: Medical education in Punjab is not tailored to meet indigenous needs, with medical institutions incapable of performing the role defined by the World Health Organisation (WHO), senior doctors have told Daily Times.

In 2006, WHO defining medical institutions' role said universities were supposed to set priorities, identify indigenous health issues, advise the government in the formulation of a health policy and offer health education. Universities are also required to educate students on community health and prevention and promote research. However, medical institutions across the province are wanting when it comes to pursuing these principles.

King Edward Medical University Registrar Dr Mehmood Shaukat said health and medical education had never been a government priority. He said the purpose of medical education was to train doctors in treating patients, research, community health, food programmes, environmental issues, determining priorities, providing feedback over the system in place and making recommendations to update the curriculum. However, he said medical education was currently only producing "treatment-oriented doctors".

"There is a separate cadre for research in the entire world, but no such infrastructure exists here... there is, therefore, no contribution in the field of research," he said. He said both curriculum and educational strategies should be dynamic and must be developed over time, but "there has been no change at our hospitals".

The registrar said that the focus across the world was now on "adult learning" rather than the "teacher-oriented passive education". "At Agha Khan Medical University, every faculty member has to have a diploma in medical education... while knowledge of medicine and training in medicine have been restructured across the world, the government in Punjab has not set up a single medical education department anywhere in the province... a structured-training programme does not exist."

Young Doctors' Association (YDA) Secretary General Dr Salman Kazmi said there the curriculum and syllabus for undergraduates had not been defined. He said it was "lamentable" that young doctors were not offered career counselling, nor were they taught medical ethics "both are pivotal areas for students before they start their journey towards becoming doctors".

Also, he said students were made to conduct "practicals set in the colonial times, with an age-old syllabus". He said the medical syllabus had not been revised despite the presence of numerous senior professors and doctors. He said there was no mechanism in place to assess the performance of faculties.

Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) Joint Secretary Dr Shahid Malik said problems persisted on the institutional, administrative and faculty fronts. He said the concept of career development was still "alien to us, while there is no criterion to meet the demand and supply of faculty at medical institutions". He said the entire system of medical education was "rotten", with a "defective syllabus and incapable subject specialists".

"For undergraduate and postgraduate medical education... there is no defined syllabus," he said, adding that medical institutions were "producing a defective lot" with the emphasis on quantity rather than quality. Highlighting the government's "apathy", Malik said the health establishment on all three tiers of the government was only interested in transfers and postings. "The government is yet to take an initiative to streamline medical education," he added.

However, Chief Minister's Taskforce on Health Chairman Dr Saeed Elahi told Daily Times that all the criticism was "politically motivated", because "Pakistan still offers the best medical education across the globe". He cited the recent hiring of 1,400 doctors by the Saudi government as "proof".

He said the medical curriculum was framed by the PMDC, which also took vice chancellors and principals on board. He said the examination system was "transparent, with an across-the-board entry test for admission to medical institutions. He said the postgraduate degree offered in Pakistan was recognised across the world. "Ninety percent of postgraduates previously acquired their qualifications from foreign countries... but the trend has changed in recent times because of the advanced teaching facilities being offered here [in Pakistan]... although the PMDC is widely criticised for its role, the parameters set are recognised by the British General Medical Council... the policies laid down by the PMDC are not faulty: the need is just to modernise and streamline things to prevent wastage of human resources," he said.

Replying to a question about the establishment of a medical education department, he said there was one additional secretary looking into affairs related medical education. He said in pursuance of directives by the chief minister, the health secretary presided over a conference on medical education immediately after taking charge. However, he said there were "some areas where work is required... at the undergraduate level, we are not at par with the European standards... we also lag behind in setting up multipurpose laboratories". However, he claimed that steps were being taken to "further improve" medical education. Daily times

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PU announced various results
Lahore: The Punjab University (PU) declared the results of various examinations on Monday. These examinations are: MSc Zoology, Part-II, Supplementary Examination 2009, MSc Geography, Part-II, Supplementary Examination 2009, MSc Applied Psychology, Part-II, Supplementary Examination 2009, MSc Psychology, Part-II, Supplementary Examination 2009, MA Persian, Part-II, Supplementary Examination 2009, MA Mass Communication, Part-II, Supplementary Examination 2009, MA Philosophy, Part-II, Supplementary Examination 2009, MA English, Part-II, Supplementary Examination 2009 and MA History, Part-II, Supplementary Examination 2009. Detailed results are available at the PU website The news

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PhD degree awarded
Lahore: Punjab University here Monday issued the notification for award of Ph.D. Degree to Zaheer Ahmed Shafique after approval of his research thesis "Punjabi Addab vich tarjame de revayat". Zaheer Ahmed Shafique, who is a faculty member of the PU Punjabi Language Department, had completed his thesis under the supervision of Dr Nabeela Rehman. App

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LACAS Employee dies in college library fire
Lahore: A sweeper died and a female librarian sustained burns after a fire erupted in the library of the Lahore College of Arts and Science (LACAS) on Monday.

According to eyewitnesses, the library was badly damaged by the fire. The fire created panic among the college students and they were asked to leave the college. Rescue 1122 officials said that at 7:10am they received a call about fire at the LACAS and within five minutes they reached there. They said that according to their investigation, the fire erupted due to gas leakage in the library which engulfed it compltly.

They said they shifted two injured, Mukhtar, a sweeper and Ayesha, 24, a librarian, to the Mayo Hospital where Mukhtar succumbed to his injuries while the condition of Ayesha was stated to be stable. Rescue officials said that seven fire fighting vehicles took part in the fire extinguishing operation which was completed in three hours. He said all the books and furniture in the library was reduced to ashes. Air-conditioning units were also damaged.

Prisoner dies: A prisoner of the Camp Jail died of cancer at Services Hospital on Monday morning. The deceased was identified as Afzal, a resident of Township. Camp Jail Superintendent Gulzar Ahmed said that he had been suffering from cancer for the past few months and was admitted to Services Hospital. He said Afzal was awarded 10-month imprisonment by an anti-corruption court. Police have handed over the body to his family.

Impersonator held: Authorities of the Board of Intermediate & Secondary Education (BISE) Lahore caught a candidate for impersonation during the ongoing Intermediate Part-II Annual Examination 2010 on Monday and handed him over to police.A press release said the candidate with roll number 106438 was caught red handed from examination centre set up at Government Comprehensive High School, Sheikhupura. Superintendent of the centre was also removed for negligence. The news

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BISE Chairman inspects exam centres
Lahore: The Intermediate Examination of Board of Intermediate & Secondary Education, Lahore conducted the English paper on Monday on the commencement of Inter Exams 2010.

Chairman of the Board Prof Dr Mohammad Akram Kashmiri inspected the examination centres of Shahdara, Muridke and Narang Mandi.

Controller Examination Prof Manzoorul Hassan Niazi also inspected different examination centres separately.

Meanwhile, Police arrested one Obaid Mushtaq for taking examination in place of Mohammad Irfan, roll number 106438 at Sheikhupura centre. The nation

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