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Doctors demand recognition of Pakistani medical degrees abroad

PMA holds Ministry of Foreign Affairs, federal and provincial health ministries, universities responsible for not taking up issue

The Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) on Wednesday expressed serious concern over non-recognition of degrees of 19 different medical universities across the world, holding the Ministry of External Affairs, federal and the provincial health ministries as well as the medical universities responsible for not taking up the issue at the international level.

“Indian and Bangladeshi doctors are joining the Middle East on the basis of their universities’ degrees,” said Professor Dr. Ashraf Nizami, the PMA Lahore chapter president, while addressing a press conference at PMA House on Ferozepur Road.

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PMA Lahore Vice President Dr. Iram Shehzadi, Joint Secretary Bushra Haq, Young Doctor Association Punjab General Secretary Dr. Salman Kazmi, Professor Shahid Malik, Dr. Wajid Ali, Dr. Ahmed Ali and Dr. Rana Sohail were present at the press conference.

Dr. Nizami said, “Our issue is that our degrees are not being recognised in many parts of the world… it is a failure of state institutions.”

He said neither the government called any meeting to discuss this issue and make any strategy nor did the vice chancellors of universities concerned bothered to take up this matter. “The VCs of the medical universities just remained stuck to their office and intentionally ignored the issue,” he alleged.

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The PMA office-bearers also pointed out that 19 new medical universities were established in different parts of the country, which introduced many degree programmes that were yet to be recognised in the world.

They said the degree programmes were introduced with the approval of the Pakistan Higher Education (HEC) and Pakistan Medical Commission (PMC), but despite all that these were not being recognised in any part of the world. Neither these new universities nor their programmes were being introduced in the world, they added.

Interestingly, the medical degrees issued by the old universities, including the Punjab University and Karachi University, were recognised, but the degrees issued by the newly established medical universities were not, they said.

The PMA leaders said that the degree programmes like Masters of Surgery, Masters of Medicine, MPhil Public Health and many new programmes had recognition issues. For recognition, they said, the regulatory bodies like the HEC and PMC were supposed to play their due role, but unfortunately nothing was being done.

“The regulatory bodies are supposed to manage visits of foreign delegates and pay fees to international organisations for recognition of the degree programmes,” said Dr. Salman Kazmi, pointing out the lethargic approach of the authorities concerned. The government authorities, he said, were not ready to take steps for the degrees’ recognition. The doctors demanded that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, federal and provincial health ministries and the vice chancellors of medical universities take action and get the degree programmes recognised in the world; otherwise there would be nothing but wastage of state resources.

It may be mentioned here that in 2019, Saudi Arabia and some other Arabic countries rejected years-old MS Surgery and MD (Doctor of Medicine) programmes and removed Pakistani doctors from the eligibility list of the highest paid tier. The reports that emerged that year revealed that hundreds of highly qualified doctors lost their jobs, especially in Saudi Arabia.

The Saudi Ministry of Health had rejected Pakistani doctors for the reason that they lacked structured training programme.

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