KARACHI: Pakistan Medical Association (PMA), a representative body of doctors, has expressed concern over the new fee structure of private medical colleges and has urged Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) and the federal government to review fee structure of medical institutions.
These reservations were expressed by PMA Centre President Dr Muhammad Ashraf Nizami while addressing a press conference on Friday along with Secretary-General Dr SM Qaisar Sajjad, Treasurer Dr Qazi Muhammad Wasiq, PMA Karachi President Dr Khalil Mukaddam and PMA Karachi General Secretary Dr Abdul Ghafoor Shoro.
Professor Ashraf Nizami said that PMA has always raised voice against an increase in fees for admission in medical colleges and it categorically rejects new fee structure. He said that PMA has always stressed upon the need to resolve the issues of PMDC on a priority basis. The negligence of the governments and the vested interest groups in PMDC have destroyed medical education in the country.
“We were expecting good change after the dissolution of PMDC but the present state of the affairs of PMDC is creating a lot of unrest and disillusion in the medical fraternity across the country. We believe and demand that the government should immediately dissolve the ad-hoc committee and a true representative PMDC should be formed with the elected members after promulgation of an ordinance. We believe that the new government in Pakistan will give top priority to health, medical education, training and research in the country,” he added.
Speaking on this occasion, PMA Centre Secretary-General Dr SM Qaisar Sajjad said that malnutrition has become a common problem in Pakistan. He said that major nutritional problems are low birth weight due to poor maternal nutrition, protein-energy malnutrition, anaemia, and iodine deficiency. He informed that national dietary guidelines for better nutrition have also been prepared to provide nutrition-related information for healthy living to the masses. The food fortification strategy has also been revised to take sustained action for overcoming micronutrient deficiency.
He said that common reasons of malnutrition in Pakistan are insufficient or imbalanced nourishment, poor sanitary conditions and hygiene practices, high poverty rate, political and economic instability, the burden of refugees and internally displaced people, lack of political will and leadership, implementation and questionable sustainability of health programmes.
Dr Qaisar Sajjad recommended the government to create a sense of ownership, capacity-building and skill development of the people at all levels, development and use of nutritional surveillance system, cross-sectoral linkages (multisectoral approach), entire healthcare system will be made resilient to disasters (climate change, natural disasters, disease outbreak, etc).
He said that food adulteration is a serious threat to the health of the people of Pakistan. Every edible product like water, milk, meat, juices, biscuits, flour, chilli powder and many others are not fresh and pure but adulterated, he added.
“Animals fodder is adulterated, vegetables are grown and washed with chemically contaminated water at a time with industrial waste and fruits are ripened with chemicals,” he said.
He said that a recent incident took place in Karachi in which two children died due to food poisoning after consuming substandard food. PMA is very much concerned and offers condolences to the aggrieved family, he added.
“We should learn a lesson from such incidents and make our food departments answerable for every kind of adulteration and quality of food items. We should make our food authorities more functional with having food laboratories and proper human resource to check adulteration and maintain the quality standards,” he further said.
He demanded that food departments should work on priority and regular basis to monitor and check every requirement regarding the purity of food. Every food item that is soled weather in market or streets should be registered, he concluded.