ISLAMABAD: The next time you buy poultry and dairy products, you may want to ask the vendor where they sourced it from since the meat and milk available in the markets of the capital are apparently contaminated with a host of hormones and steroids causing various diseases among children and women.
This was disclosed by the District Health Officer Dr Muhammad Tahir while briefing the Senate Standing Committee on National Health.
He told lawmakers that chicken and buffalos are injected with oxytocin to help double the production of chicken meat and buffalo milk that is wrecking havoc with the health of women and children.
Rising chicken meat prices – a constant concern for consumers
The food produced from such adulterated milk and meat is harmful for human consumption and can cause a host of diseases, afflicting the liver, kidney, and heart.
Moreover, the chicken causes various reproductive issues among women including vaginal problems, he added. To control the use of oxytocin, Dr Tahir suggested that the price of the injection should be increased so that it cannot be used for profiteering.
Suggesting that people avoid eating chicken, the health official said that people can opt to purchase chickens raised traditionally in homes.
He also advised creating awareness amongst the public about the dangers of poultry and dairy products.
Giving details about contaminated milk, Dr Tahir said that authorities had confiscated and dumped around 25,000 litres of milk from Sargodha and Rawat which had been contaminated with detergent and urea.
He suggested that there was room for further legislation which expands the jurisdiction of the commissioner’s office for taking wider and effective implementation in the matter. Senator Ateeq Shaikh showed his concern over the matter and requested the committee’s chairman, Senator Sajid Hussain Turi, to send a letter to the Pakistan Dairy Association to provide clarification.
New PMDC admission policy
Senators were infuriated over a poorly prepared presentation about the new admission policy for Medical Colleges prepared by the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) which skipped crucial details and specifics which the panel had asked for.
32 hospitalised after drinking contaminated milk
The Minister of State for National Health Saira Afzal Tarar then briefed the committee that a new mechanism for regulating the fee structure and admission policies of private and public medical institutions have been introduced after due consultation with medical colleges.
Explaining fee hikes, she said that the step was necessary since college fees have remained stagnant since 2011. She added that the fixed fee structure will ensure that no “under the table” money - in the form of donations – is taken from parents.
Further, she said that private medical colleges have been bound to allocate seats on merit with no opportunity to circumvent the process.
However, the committee members expressed their reservations over how parliamentary committees had been excluded from the policy-making process – something which had been decided in the previous meetings of the committee.
Less than convinced with the details provided, Senator Dr Ashok Kumar, Senator Shaikh and Senator Nauman Wazir Khattak demanded that PMDC collect further data about the issues. They stated that private colleges charge heavy fees from students propelling their owners into the lists of billionaires.
As a measure of their influence, the senators pointed out how instructions to present audit reports of two medical colleges before the committee had been ignored.
To this, the committee’s chairman decided to create a consensus committee which would visit PMDC for further deliberation.
The committee members later visited the council and found no financial record of the medical colleges. Opposing the new policy, the committee members said that increase in admission fees cannot be allowed.
Ice increasing suicide
The committee’s chairman Senator Turi expressed concerns over drugs on campuses noting that drug called “Ice” (street name for crystal methamphetamine) has been introduced amongst the youth of the capital.
“This drug allows the user to feel euphoric where suicide can be committed for enjoyment,” he said.
Dr Tahir suggested that the matter falls under the narcotics division and it should be taken up with them.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 6th, 2017.
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