PESHAWAR: The ministry of health has announced the selection of 1,066 doctors as medical officers and 219 of them will be candidates who obtained degrees from foreign lands including Afghanistan, China, Russia and Latin America.
The candidates were selected for the jobs after the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) registered the candidates and recognised their degrees, allowing them to practise and apply for the jobs whenever advertised.
The selection, according to health officials, has irked students with local degrees. They say parents have invested a huge amount of money in their studies.
“If I had the authority to register doctors, I would have preferred those who have studied in Pakistan as a doctorate in medicine (MD) cannot be compared to the degrees we issue here,” a senior health official, who is also a doctor, told The Express Tribune.
Some 219 MD degree holders from other countries have been selected for the medical officer’s post, according to documents available with The Express Tribune. The documents, which were earlier made public on the K-P health department’s website, said degrees of around 90 MDs could not be traced to any country since the origin has not been mentioned.
It said 57 people obtained their MD degrees from China, 49 from Russia, 12 from Afghanistan, six from Latin America, two from Ukraine and one each from Romania, Georgia and Cuba.
It also stated that 104 of the 227 doctors had MD degrees and were selected on open merit from across the province and Fata. At least nine out of 151 people with MD degrees were selected from Zone-I (the tribal areas) and 29 out of 152 persons were selected from Zone-II (Peshawar, Charsadda, Nowshera, Mardan and Swabi).
The document read seven out of 152 candidates with MD degrees were selected from Zone (III) comprising districts Swat, Dir Lower, Buner, Malakand and Battagram.
Another issue which caused concern was the huge number of candidates selected for medical officer posts who were born between 1971 and 1979. Jamal Shah, a resident of Frontier Region Peshawar, was born in 1963, but officials said that he was granted an age relaxation after following official procedures.
A number of officials were contacted for an official version, but all refused to comment. However, some did say that those with MD degrees could not even pass a cannula. “All this happened after PMDC registered them (the MDs) and if you are allowed to treat patients, you can be hired for a job,” an official said. “You cannot compare even a third division graduate of the Khyber Medical College with an experienced MD.’
When asked, Deputy Secretary Health Motasim told The Express Tribune that the matter was indeed a controversy, but the department has to follow rules since the MDs were recognised. Going against these rules could lead to a legal battle, he said. “Once their degrees are recognised, they are allowed to do jobs and cannot be refused,” the deputy secretary concluded.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 23rd, 2016.