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Fund to be set up to help meritorious students get medical education

KARACHI: The newly established health regulatory body has warned that it will not allow failed students to get admission to medical colleges only on the basis of their financial status and become doctors, announcing the establishment of a fund for meritorious students who could not afford medical education for lack of resources.

“Around 8,000 students from Sindh secured over 60 per cent marks in the recently-held Medical and Dental College Admission Test (MDCAT) but because their parents could not afford to educate them at private medical colleges, they could not get admission. Now we are being asked to allow admission to those students who were below-merit just to fill the seats of private medical colleges, which is not acceptable to us,” President of the Pakistan Medical Commission (PMC) Dr Arshad Taqi told a webinar late on Saturday.

The webinar titled ‘Pakistan Medical Commission; apprehensions and expectations’ was organised by the Pakistan Islamic Medical Association (PIMA), a second in the series on the issue of establishment and functioning of the PMC, and it was addressed by vice-chancellors of medical universities, principals of medical and dental colleges and senior medical professors and professionals from all over the country.

‘Failed students can’t be allowed admission to medical institutions despite their financial status’

In addition to PMC President Dr Arshad Taqi and medical member Dr Rumina Hasan, the webinar was addressed by Prof Dr Tariq Rafi, vice-chancellor of Jinnah Sindh Medical University, Karachi, Prof Khalid Masood Gondal, Vince Chancellor of King Edward Medical University, Lahore, Prof Aamer Zaman, Vice-Chancellor of Fatima Jinnah Medical University, Lahore, Prof Hussain Mehdi, Principal of Jinnah Medical and Dental College, Karachi, PIMA Central President Dr Khubaib Shahid, PIMA Karachi President Prof Azeemuddin, Dr Fasih Hashmi, President of PIMA Sindh. It was moderated by eminent surgeon Dr Abdullah Muttaqi.

PMC President Dr Arshad Taqi said they had decided to establish a fund for the meritorious students and asked the federal and provincial governments, philanthropists and other segments of society to contribute to that fund so that intelligent students, who qualified for medical education but could not afford it, could get admission to medical colleges and become qualified medical professionals.

“And why dental colleges are not getting students; in the past, we assured medical colleges that we would fill all their seats and all those students who could not get admission to the medical colleges, they were used to be sent to dental colleges. Ironically, 50 per cent of the graduates of dental colleges don’t come to take a licence from the PMC”, he said.

He maintained that ‘good, intelligent’ children from Sindh had already got admission to medical colleges and added that something should be done for those who could not get admission despite clearing the MDCAT exam. “We should be forcing provincial governments, society and everyone to support these students for getting medical education to become qualified medical professionals,” he added.

PMC to seek suggestions from medical varsities, colleges
On a suggestion of JSMU Vice Chancellor Prof Tariq Rafi, PMC President Dr Arshad Taqi said they were ready to write a letter to all 162 medical universities and medical colleges to seek their suggestions and recommendations as well as their apprehensions on various issues and steps taken by the health regulator and added that they were also willing to work with them to initiate a dialogue to improve the regulatory process.

Dr Abdullah Muttaqi of PIMA offered their services for hosting a meeting in Islamabad between PMC officials and the vice-chancellors, principals of public and private medical colleges in the second week of April and added that they would also hold a series of dialogue, online seminars to address it.

March 8, 2021

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