Doctors demand recognition of Pakistani medical degrees abroad
The Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) on Wednesday expressed serious concern over the non-recognition of degrees from 19 different medical universities around the world, holding the Ministry of External Affairs, Federal and Provincial Ministries of Health as well as medical universities responsible for not taking up raising the issue internationally.
“Indian and Bangladeshi doctors are joining the Middle East on the basis of degrees from their universities,” Prof Dr Ashraf Nizami, President of the PMA Lahore Chapter, said during a press conference at the PMA House on Ferozepur Road. .
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Vice President of PMA Lahore, Dr. Iram Shehzadi, Joint Secretary Bushra Haq, Secretary General of Punjab Young Doctors Association, Dr. Salman Kazmi, Prof. Shahid Malik, Dr. Wajid Ali, Dr. Ahmed Ali and Dr. Rana Sohail were present at the press conference.
Dr Nizami said: “Our problem is that our degrees are not recognized in many parts of the world…it is a failure of state institutions.
He said that neither the government has convened a meeting to discuss this issue and develop a strategy, nor have the vice chancellors of the universities concerned bothered to address this issue. “Medical college VCs got stuck in their desks and intentionally ignored the issue,” he alleged.
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PMA officials also pointed out that 19 new medical universities have been established in different parts of the country, which has introduced many degree programs that were not yet recognized in the world.
They said the degree programs were introduced with the approval of Pakistan Higher Education (HEC) and Pakistan Medical Commission (PMC), but still they were not recognized anywhere in the world. Neither these new universities nor their programs were introduced to the world, they added.
Interestingly, the medical degrees issued by the old universities including the University of Punjab and the University of Karachi were recognized, but the degrees issued by the newly established medical universities were not, did they declared.
PMA leaders said degree programs such as masters in surgery, masters in medicine, masters in public health and many new programs had recognition issues. For recognition, they said, regulatory bodies like HEC and PMC were supposed to play their part, but unfortunately nothing was done.
“Regulatory bodies are supposed to manage the visits of foreign delegates and pay the fees to international organizations for the recognition of study programs,” said Dr Salman Kazmi, pointing to the lethargic approach of the authorities concerned. Government authorities, he said, were not ready to take action on credential recognition. The doctors demanded that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the federal and provincial ministries of health and the vice-chancellors of medical universities take action and have the study programs recognized around the world; otherwise, there would be nothing but a waste of state resources.
It can be mentioned here that in 2019, Saudi Arabia and some other Arab countries rejected the years-old MS and MD (Doctorate of Medicine) surgery programs and removed Pakistani doctors from the eligibility list of the level best paid. Reports published that year revealed that hundreds of highly qualified doctors had lost their jobs, particularly in Saudi Arabia.
The Saudi Ministry of Health had rejected Pakistani doctors on the grounds that they did not have a structured training program.