PMDC affairs (Dawn (Pakistan))

IT is a sad day indeed to read about the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC). Though all its members are educated, the PMDC seems to have functioned the way political parties function — undemocratically.

It is not much different from the Pakistan Cricket Board. It too functions undemocraticaly. When institutions are undemocratic, there are manipulations, and alignments with political parties. Most of our trade unions too are run on undemocratic lines.

Ddemocracy appears in the form of parties contesting elections, citizens voting to bring parties into power, governments formed, opposition protesting inside and outsie parliaments, parlimentarians reaching quick consensus to accumulate perks and benefits for themselves, while ordinary people groaning under the ever-rising cost of living and three basic needs of health, eduation, transport left to the whims of all and sundry.

It is thus not a surprise that the PMDC, PCB, to name some institutions, represent the undemocratic ethos of Pakistan. What we need are examples of democratically managed institutions. Perhaps the health fraternity will take a lead by building a system to ensure that the PMDC functions on democratic lines.

Since the mid-1980s, bioethics has made a formal entrance in Pakistan. It was introduced in medical education, courses on research ethics and clinical ethics have steadily grown. Organisational ethics has emerged as a significant theme of concern. In Karachi there is a Karachi Bioethics Group (KBG), which has health professionals from at least five institutions. Would they add to their agenda the ethics of institutions?

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