The Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC), Islamabad, has launched a new procedure for the revalidation of registration for medical graduates in Pakistan. This requires general physicians and specialists to have adequate credit hours, which have to be obtained working under approved teachers and consultants, who also have to get themselves registered with the PMDC after paying a fee. These teachers and consultants can charge those who attend their so-called lectures. This business has already started flourishing and many approved teachers and consultants have begun charging medical doctors in towns and cities across Pakistan. The problem posed by this faulty procedure is that a medical doctor has to sacrifice long hours in pursuit of attending such lectures and waste precious time for almost no gain, except a certificate that states that he or she attended a particular lecture. Thousands of doctors have no access to such educational activities due to their particular circumstances.
Those living in the rural areas face even greater problems in this regard as they often have to travel hundreds of kilometres to attend such lectures. The next big question is that if one is, say, a paediatric specialist with no concern for the orthopaedics specialty, will he or she still be expected to attend the orthopaedics lecture to complete credit hours and obtain a certificate?
The medical community in Pakistan needs to think about this illegitimate prerequisite for the renewal of registration. The bureaucracy in the PMDC has no insight into the prevailing conditions of practising doctors in the country. It is causing the country huge harm by not allowing doctors to renew their registrations through other more convenient means. The PMDC may be trying to copy the system prevalent in the US, but procedures and circumstances in the two countries differ. In the US, doctors are sponsored for continuing their medical education. Furthermore, primary care physicians in Pakistan practise in remote areas, which are often far from medical colleges or other educational institutions. The PMDC is an organisation created to facilitate doctors in their practice and provide guidance to them. However, of late, it has proven to be a hindrance for the medical community.
Dr Mubeen Malik
Published in The Express Tribune, August 23rd, 2015.
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