Recognition for degrees

Recognition for degrees

May 17, 2024


The recent decision by Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries to once again recognise Pakistan’s MS (Master of Surgery) and MD (Doctor of Medicine) degrees marks a significant victory for Pakistani doctors and the medical community at large. This development, achieved after years of advocacy and diplomatic efforts, not only restores the credibility of Pakistani medical degrees but also secures the future of thousands of doctors who were adversely affected by the earlier delisting.

In 2017, the rejection of Pakistani MS/MD degrees by the Saudi health ministry sent shockwaves through the medical community, leading to concerns about the future prospects of Pakistani doctors working in the Gulf region. The decision was particularly perplexing given that similar degrees from other countries, including India, Egypt, Sudan, and Bangladesh, continued to be accepted. This disparity not only caused embarrassment but also raised questions about the standards and recognition of Pakistani medical education. However, thanks to the relentless efforts of the Association of University Physicians and Surgeons Pakistan (AUPSP), a breakthrough has been achieved, which not only restores the confidence of Pakistani doctors working in the Gulf region but also opens doors of opportunity for future generations of medical professionals. It reaffirms Pakistan’s position as a provider of high-quality medical education. However, as we reflect on this significant achievement, it is imperative to conduct a thorough examination of the circumstances that led to the initial ban and to implement measures to prevent such occurrences in the future. While the exact reasons for the ban may vary, it is crucial to acknowledge and address any deficiencies or shortcomings in Pakistani medical education that may have contributed to the decision.

There is a pressing need to raise the standards of medical education in Pakistan to align with international benchmarks. Mechanisms for quality assurance and accreditation should be strengthened to provide assurance to international stakeholders regarding the quality and credibility of Pakistani medical degrees.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 17th, 2024.

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