PMA writes to PM to turn PMDC into independent, democratic body

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Zubair Qureshi

Pakistan Medical Association (PMA), in a letter addressed to Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has urged him to take notice of the challenges being faced by the health sector.

The prime minister must, says the letter, with the consultation of all stakeholders strengthen the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) as a democratic, autonomous, independent and transparent body so it can regulate medical education in the country.

The PMA has also asked the prime minister to spare some time to meet its delegation in order to discuss important issues regarding the health delivery system and medical education in the country.

According to PMA Secretary General Dr Qaiser Sajjad the medical fraternity wanted to discuss a number of issues including concerns raised by foreign graduates of medicine.

Meanwhile, a meeting was held on Friday between representatives of Foreign Medical Graduates (FMGs) and the PMC Academic Board’s Chairman Dr Adil Haider.

Three mandatory sections in the National Licensing Examination (NLE) were discussed threadbare in the meeting. Due to the subjective nature of marking in mandatory stations, students qualifying with an aggregate of higher than 70pc end up failing due to not qualifying a single mandatory station, the representatives pointed out.

The chairman highlighted that the mandatory stations represented essential basic skills like basic life support and trauma care, which is a competency every doctor is expected to have at the minimum.

The chairman informed FMG representatives that he will discuss with the board on an immed iate basis in the coming week their concerns. He said either mandatory stations should be based on an objective marking system or alternatively the requirement of passing all mandatory stations should be removed.

In addition to this, he confirmed that mandatory stations, if retained in the future, will consist of basic skills and will be in advance declared along with the relevant topics so that all students can specifically prepare for these skills.

He said according to observations of the board, students who had failed to qualify a mandatory station but obtained more than 70pc aggregate marks in all stations will be notified as qualified so that they are not placed at any disadvantage on account of subjective marking rather than objective marking.

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