Addressing the critical health workforce crises


KARACHI -“Residency at the Aga Khan University Hospital has been an experience nothing short of completely absorbing. This institution has groomed us to be professional, altruistic and ethical in a way that has changed our lives and hopefully we will not only be excellent physicians but also caring human beings,” said Samira Adnan, a Resident in Operative Dentistry, at the  Aga Khan University’s 19thPostgraduate Medical Education graduation ceremony held recently.

At the ceremony, 174 doctors, over half of them women, were awarded their postgraduate training certificates. They included 66 interns, 84 residents and 24 fellows, with the longest programme offering five years of training and the shortest a year of clinical practice.

Fourteen Awards were also distributed: the Best Intern Award, the Best Resident Award to a person in each of 11 departments, and an Excellence in Research Award to a Resident and a Fellow.

All in all, 2,524 specialist doctors, divided almost equally between men and women, have graduated from AKU’s PGME programme since 1986.

Pakistan suffers from a severe shortage of doctors – with less than 1 practicing doctor per 1,000 persons – and specialist physicians. The country is facing a health workforce crisis at a time when it has a high proportion of the global burden of disease and a steady increase in cancer and other non-communicable diseases that call for specialised medical treatment.

Addressing the graduands, chief guest, Dr Kamran Hameed, Dean of Ziauddin University urged the doctors to play a positive role in improving the state of healthcare in Pakistan by utilizing their expertise.

Dr Hameed is himself an alumnus of the AKU PGME programme. A faculty member at AKU for over 15 years, he was also the Founding Chair of the Department of Medicine at the Aga Khan University Hospital in Nairobi, Kenya.

The University is a pioneer in offering 33 structured residency programmes in Pakistan and 27 fellowship programmes, with the chemical pathology, cardiac surgery, endocrinology and paediatric intensive care programmes unique in the country. All together, internship, residency and fellowship programmes are offered in 61 distinct specialties structured to provide rigorous training to doctors under the supervision of over 450 qualified and dedicated faculty members.

The result is highly specialized graduates who have and continue to significantly contribute to the needs of the country and the region. Over 25 per cent of AKU’s clinical faculty continue to be comprised of its own PGME graduates, while around 60 per cent of the PGME graduates are practicing within Pakistan in the private and public sector. Several of these graduates have also contributed to the international medical community by working in various locations across the world i.e. Australia, Europe, Far East, Middle East and North America.

January 1, 2015

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