The Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) has demanded a moratorium on new medical colleges and the reconstitution of the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) so that it is free of “vested interests” and “unscrupulous elements”.
At a press conference on Sunday, PMA officials also accused “some federal ministers” of attempting to manipulate the PMDC to get approval for a plan to start evening classes at medical colleges. They sought the formation of a high-powered commission to investigate the working of the council. PMA Punjab President Dr Ashraf Nizami said that a letter from the principal secretary to the prime minister dated June 15 was sent out to selected members of the PMDC for a meeting on July 5. He said that the meeting had eventually been postponed because of protests by council members.
“There is strong lobby in the government which is playing foul at the cost of the health of poor patients and the medical education in the country,” he said.
Dr Nizami said that the PMDC had violated its own rules to allow some private colleges to operate. He said that there were 108 medical colleges registered in Pakistan and more were in the pipeline. He said that there was not a single private medical college in the UK and Ireland. “These colleges are short of faculty or they do not have a proper hospital for the training of their students as prescribed by the PMDC,” he said.
He said evening classes were also meant to benefit private colleges. “Medical education is a full time job. How will these students be accommodated in evening classes? What will the format of these classes be? Which faculty will look after them? What will the modus operandi for clinical teaching be, since all out patient departments, clinics and surgeries take place in the morning hours?”
Dr Nizami said that the PMDC should be reconstituted “with the power to act autonomous and independent of vested interest groups in the medical profession.”
He said the PMA demanded a moratorium on the establishment of new medical colleges, the immediate withdrawal of the plan to start evening classes, and the conversion of all part-time medical colleges into fulltime medical institutes.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 8th, 2011.