Everyone is vulnerable to skin problems. Despite the strength and durability of the skin, there are few among us who have never dealt with a skin condition, whether it be acne, athlete’s foot, or even a simple scrape or burn. No one is exempt: There are skin conditions specific to every age group, as well as many that strike regardless of years, skin type, or general health. In fact, some skin conditions strike without any known cause.

Still, there are groups that may suffer more skin problems than others. People whose immune systems are compromisedfor example, people who have AIDS or who are undergoing chemotherapy treatment for cancerare much more susceptible to skin disorders than the rest of the population. Those who have used antibiotics for long periods may suffer more bacterial skin infections than others because the organisms have become resistant to the medications. In addition, anyone whose resistance is down, perhaps because of stress or illness, is vulnerable to disease.

When the skin is vulnerable to disease, your overall health may be at stake. However, working to keep your skin in top shape can help you boost your immune system, speed your rate of healing, increase production of the vital vitamin D, help fight off the ill effects of the environment, and prevent or slow the effects of aging. In addition, you reduce your risk for some types of skin disease, which helps to preserve the integrity of your skin. And of course, your skin will look its best, helping you to feel even better.

With this in mind, let’s get right to some tips on how to help keep your skin healthy. Chapter 2 deals with skin-care basics, while Chapter 3 covers proper use of cosmetics and advanced skin-care products and treatments. Information on how to handle common skin conditions can be found in Chapter 4.


Common Skin Problems

There are more than a thousand conditions that may affect the skin. Though these problems are too numerous to describe individually most skin diseases can be categorized according to nine common types. (More information on specific conditions can be found in Chapter 4.)

Rashes.

A rash is an area of red, inflamed skin or a group of individual spots. These can be caused by irritation, allergy, infection, or an underlying disease, as well as by structural defectsfor example, blocked pores or malfunctioning oil glands. Examples of rashes include acne, dermatitis, eczema, hives, pityriasis rosea, and psoriasis.

Viral infections.

These occur when a virus penetrates the stratum corneum and infects the inner layers of the skin. Examples of viral skin infections include herpes simplex, shingles (herpes zoster), and warts. Some systemic viral infections, such as chicken pox or the measles, may also affect the skin. Viral infections cannot be cured with antibiotics.

Bacterial infections.

Such infections are caused by a wide variety of bacteria, the most common types being staphylococci or streptococci. Bacteria may infect the topmost layers of skin, the hair follicles, or the deeper layers of skin. If not treated correctly these infections may spread throughout the body. Examples include impetigo, folliculitis, cellulitis, and Lyme disease. Antibiotics are effective against bacterial infections.

Fungal infections.

Harmless fungi are always present on the surface of the skin, and infection occurs when these organisms gain entry into the body. These infections are usually superficial, affecting the skin, hair, and nails; examples include athlete’s foot, jock itch, and ringworm. However, in people with suppressed immune systems or who have been taking antibiotics long-term, the fungi may spread to deep within the body, causing more serious disease.

Parasitic infections.

These infections occur after exposure to parasites such as lice and scabies.

Pigmentation disorders.

The amount of pigment in the skin is determined by the amount of melanin being produced by the body. Loss of pigment (hypopigmentation) can be caused by an absence of melanocytes, malfunctioning cells, exposure to cold or chemicals, or some types of infection. An increase in pigment (hyperpigmentation) may be caused by skin irritation, hormonal changes, aging, a metabolic disorder, or another underlying problem. Age spots, freckles, and melasma are examples of hyperpigmentation; vitiligo is an example of hypopigmentation.

Tumors and cancers.

These growths arise when skin cells begin to multiply faster than normal. Not every skin growth is cancerous: Some tumors are harmless and will not spread. Skin cancer is the most common of all the cancers, affecting 800,000 Americans each year. It is caused, in 90 percent of cases, by sun exposure. The three types of skin cancer are basal cell cancer (the most curable), squamous cell cancer (which may grow and spread), and malignant melanoma (the most deadly form). Prevention involves protecting the skin against damaging ultraviolet rays. Early detection helps to improve the chances of a cure, so regular self-examinations are recommended.

Trauma.

Trauma describes an injury to the skin caused by a blow, cut, or burn. Any time the surface of the skin is broken, the body becomes more susceptible to infection and disease.

Other conditions.

Wrinkles, rosacea, spider veins, and varicose veins are among those conditions that cannot be neatly categorized. Wrinkles are caused by a breakdown of the collagen and elastin within the dermis, which results in sagging skin. Rosacea is a long-term disorder in which the skin of the face becomes red and develops pimples, lesions, and more rarely, enlargement of the nose. Its cause is unknown. Spider veins and varicose veins become apparent when blood vessels enlarge and become visible through the surface of the skin. This occurs when the valves within the vessels fail, causing blood to pool and stretch the veins. Often these veins develop during pregnancy or menopause or because of obesity. They may occur, however, for no reason.

PU panel to oversee reforms in law colleges
Lahore: The Punjab University shall constitute a central committee to ensure implementation of legal education reforms approved by the Board of Studies in Law. The reforms will be applicable to all law colleges affiliated with the varsity.

This was decided in a meeting of all principals of law colleges affiliated with the university. It was chaired by Prof Dr Muhammad Ehsan Malik, Dean Faculty of Law, and Justice (retired) Khalilur Rehman Khan, Chairman of Punjab Law Reforms Committee, held at the office of Principal PU Law College (PULC) at New Campus, says a press release issued here on Sunday. Samee Ozair, In-charge Principal of the PULC, was also present.

Justice Khalilur Rehman and Dr Ehsan Malik apprised the participants of legal education reforms approved by the Board of Studies in Law.

The meeting decided that each college would constitute a committee to ensure smooth implementation of the selection board’s recommendations.

Dr Malik called for changing the pattern of question papers which, according to him, are at present normally set in a stereotype manner.

He recommended that question papers should be problem-oriented so that a problem or case is solved by students citing relevant legal provisions.

He said law students should keep themselves abreast of the latest emerging developments in the domain of law and legal decisions. The students should be introduced to research methodology and method of finding the laws as well as understanding the case law to help develop their skills of legal drafting, he added.

At this, the meeting decided that the pattern of question papers for all the students of LLB part-I, II & III, from now onwards, shall be slightly changed and one question in each paper shall consist of a problem to be attempted/solved by the student in the light of relevant laws.

Punjab University BA, BSc supple exams 2010

PU BA, BSc supple exams schedule
Lahore, Aug 23: Punjab University Examination Department has announced that BA/BSc Supplementary Examination, 2010 will commence from Oct 14, 2010.

The admission form and fee will be received upto Sept 3. The nation

Karachi colleges first year admissions

First year admissions yet to gain momentum
Karachi, Aug 23: The process of admissions to first year classes in the city’s public sector colleges and higher secondary schools under the Centralised Admissions Policy has so far received a lukewarm response from fresh matriculates.

That the admissions process is moving at a snail’s pace is evident from the fact that the CAP committee has received only 30,000 placement forms despite the passage of second deadline on Friday, although the number of students who have passed their matric examinations this year from the Board of Secondary Education Karachi (BSEK) alone is over 107,000.

Besides, there are around 5,000 more aspirants and they include ‘O’ level students and those students who have passed their examinations from the Sindh Board of Technical Education, Karachi, and other than Karachi boards plus the matriculates of the past year.

The process of admissions to first-year classes in the city’s government colleges and higher secondary schools had initially begun on July 23, but since then, only 10,000 placement forms were received till Aug 13 which was earlier fixed as the deadline. The CAP committee extended the deadline for applying for admissions till Aug 20.

However, the response from candidates has been poor even after the expiry of the second deadline (Aug 20) fixed for receiving the placement forms as, according to the director-general (Colleges) Sindh, Prof Nasir Ansar, the number of placement forms received by the CAP committee till Friday was just over 30,000.

Date extended once again
The D-G Colleges, who is also the chairman of the CAP committee, has now once again extended the date for submitting placement forms till Aug 24 so as to provide yet another opportunity to students who have not yet been able to submit their placement forms despite the passage of two deadlines.

He citied the city’s poor law and order situation and a delayed issuance of mark-sheets to students by the BSEK as the two main reasons behind receiving just 30,000 placement forms in the past 27 days (from July 23 to Aug 20).

However, he expressed the hope that the process of admissions would now gain momentum as now more and more admission seekers were thronging banks to purchase and submit the placement forms.

Admitting that the process of admissions to the city’s government colleges and higher secondary schools had been delayed to a great extent because of the city’s poor law and order situation and delayed issuance of mark-sheets by the BSEK, Prof Ansar said that all-out efforts would be made to ensure that it was completed before the commencement of the ensuing academic session scheduled for Sept 6 with the holding of first year classes.

Meanwhile, other academics and a number of senior college teachers who had been associated with the CAP committees in the recent past said that there were other causes responsible for receiving hardly 30 per cent of placement forms in the past 27 days and these included insufficient number of seats available in different faculties such as science (pre-engineering) and computer science; the shortage of teaching staff in the public sector colleges, which they said, was the main cause responsible for fast-deteriorating standards of education in the public sector colleges.

Describing the present Centralised Admissions Policy as “the private sector colleges friendly policy”, a senior government college professor said that “it is really a matter of serious concern that in a city where around 80,000 candidates used to apply for admissions to government colleges under the CAP, only 30,000 students have applied for admissions despite the passage of two deadlines”.The other reason behind the slow pace of admissions process is that a large number of students living in the Orangi and Qasba Colony areas have not been able to complete the formalities required for submitting the placement forms as both the localities have remained in the grip of tension and fear for a long period. Dawn

ANIBA graduate from the class of 2000 with a Master’s degree in marketing, Saima Husain has been teaching students at university level for a little less than a decade now. She opted to pursue a career in teaching since she felt she was not cut out for an office job, and with domestic responsibilities at hand, teaching, besides catering to her interests, seemed manageable and enjoyable and suitable to her life pattern.Her ability to deal with different types of personalities, and her skill at understanding things and transferring her knowledge across to people are two personal strengths that she has found helpful in her teaching.

During her time as an educationist, Saima has encoun tered several students who are either de-motivated as a result of the struggle that they have to face due to the challenging environment of the universities, or are just plain disinterested.

“The trick to show these students the light is to guide them and counsel them outside class, and if the need arises, to talk to them at their level and try to stir their interest towards their studies. This increases respect in the student-teacher relationship. As far as disruptive students are concerned, such cases require a judgment call. The first week of the semester decides who runs the show in class: the teacher or the students. It is important that teachers draw a line and when need be and take strict measures,” she explains.

The biggest challenge facing students in this age of competition, where young people are racing each other to get what is best, is job insecurity and the slow market. Saima states that job prospects are not promising and the options limited.

“It is sad to note that the only professions recognised as being safe, well-paying and lucrative are those of doctors, engineers and business administrators. Although lawyers, civil servants, chemical engineers and economists are also there, they are not part of the mainstream. Even literature is a subject that one would think twice about before pursuing.

“Another challenge that students usually face during their first year at university is the clash of backgrounds. Students coming from various backgrounds vary in their approach towards the subjects. Some might find the curriculum simple while some have problems in coping with them,” says Saima, who finds this a challenge for herself, too, as bringing the entire class up to the same level is not an easy job.

Regarding the subjects that she teaches, Saima says that marketing is extremely interesting on its own.

“Its nature of being accessible to everyone, and the fact that a wide part of it is based upon observation, makes it easy to teach. However, students tend to take the subject lightly and, given the way marketing is evolving these days, this attitude is bound to cost them a lot. Today, every statement that is made requires research to back it up. This day and age does not welcome judgments, it demands the skill to analyse. A drawback with the subject is that most of the textbooks are American. Had the theory been Pakistanbased, it would have been easier to boost the students’ interest,” she points out.

With a subject like marketing, students respond better to examples from their own environment. This is the reason why Saima has taken to the technique and involves as many instances from the home environment in her lectures as possible in order to gain her audience’s rapt attention. According to Saima, a teacher who is well researched and who has done her homework is always appreciated and respected by the students.

Furthermore, as far as the differences between international universities and Pakistani universities are concerned, Saima feels that the styles of teaching in both vary.

“Foreign universities give a lot of independence in terms of learning. It’s like pushing the students into a swimming pool and expecting them to resurface on their own. On the contrary, teaching in Pakistan at the undergraduate level is usually lecturebased,” she observes while stating that the students here are not willing to read extra text, which could turn out to be a disadvantage for them.

“Also, it is important to note that the outlook of a student matters a lot when s/he comes to study. Here, it is the parents who usually pay the fee and the children, unfortunately, do not feel anything for that money. On the other hand, the students studying abroad often work to pay for their studies. This instills in them a sense of responsibility and they realise the worth of education. So when comparing universities at home and abroad, it is also important to take into account the differences in attitude,” she adds.

However, the bright side is that universities in Pakistan have now started adopting a methodology where classes are a combination of student participation and the teacher’s lecture.

“Whereas upholding your own values is important, there is also no harm in adopting what is right,” she says.

Finally, Saima feels that she has developed as an individual and as an educationist over these years.

“There was a time when I used to feel nervous upon entering a classroom, but I quite look forward to it now, she says while adding that each year ends with the realisation that she has learnt a lot herself, too, and that her horizons have broadened immensely. ¦

Educationist  By Neha Khan (Dawn)

DECIDING on a career is inevitable and integral to every teenager’s future. Our wellwishers advise us to choose a particular profession or to run away from a particular one. There is the father, who says, “Job well-paid honi chahiyay”. Then mother says, “Job timings flexible honay chahiyein”. The brother has his own little question, “Job aasani se mil jaey gi?” And then there is the grandmother all worked up about your marital prospects, who says, “Bas education jaldi khatam hojaey, shaadi karni hai!” Well, isn’t there a profession that gives you the best of everything? Of course there is. Speech Language Therapy, also known as Speech Language Pathology is a four-year degree programme bound to give you the most satisfying and well-paid professional life, in the least amount of time.

Speech Language Pathology is the study of disorders that affect a person’s speech, language, cognition, voice and swallowing (dysphagia). Since these disorders can be congenital or acquired at any point in life, the patient pool is very diverse, including babies, children and adults. Babies may have feeding or swallowing difficulties due to cleft lip/palate, cerebral palsy, etc. Children are diagnosed and treated for misarticulations, language delays and impairments, stammering, autism, and voice disorders. Speech Language Pathologists (SLPs) also find themselves working very often with adults, who may come in with speech, language, cognitive and swallowing deficits, most often due to Alzheimer’s disease, stroke or traumatic brain injury.

So, how does a career in Speech Language Pathology give you the best of everything? US News and World Report (2002) lists Speech Language Pathology as one of the “careers to count on” for the future.

A survey conducted to estimate the number of individuals suffering from speech, language, swallowing and/or hearing disorders concluded that for an overall population of more than 160 million Pakistanis, over 22 million children and adults had communicative impediments and/or swallowing disorders. Therefore to tend to their needs, the country requires some 45,000 SLPs/SLTs.

Presently, there are only seven working in the country, all of whom have acquired their qualification from abroad. Opportunities in medically-related areas are also increasing at an above-average rate as more and more individuals are being identified as having speech and language problems. There are more than 1,600 doctors, 800 dentists, 400 pharmacists and 200 physiotherapists graduating every year. But the number of SLPs graduating per year is zero. Therefore, there is immense job opportunity for individuals graduating in Speech Language Pathology.

Talking about financial stability, the approximate annual salary for fresh graduates is generally around Rs350,000 for the first year after graduation. For MBBS graduates it’s around Rs120,000 and for Pharm D graduates, around Rs150,000. For a SLP, just the starting salary comes to an annual total of Rs500,000.

So, answering father’s question, is it financially rewarding.

What about mother’s concern about flexibility? Well, Speech Language Pathology is one of the most flexible careers. There are diverse working environments that you can choose from, including hospitals, mainstream and special schools, university clinics, rehabilitation centres, research facilities and even private practice. Depending on the work setting you choose to work in, you can enjoy the freedom of deciding how many hours you want to work in a week, too.

Being a SLP, you also get the chance to learn from and work as part of a team of professionals treating a client. These include doctors, physiotherapists, teachers, audiologists, psychologists, occupational therapists and caregivers.

The field of research is also open. There are endless research opportunities in this field as a four-year Bachelor’s programme has previously not existed in the country.

Oh wait, we almost forgot grandmother and her worries. What about the length of the course? Well, as mentioned earlier, too, in just four years you get a Bachelor’s degree in Science and, considering all the benefits pointed out above, it is the fastest route to a stable and well-rewarding career. The only pre-requisite required is an Intermediate or A’ Level in premedical subjects with a minimum of 60 per cent marks. So you can enroll right after college.

Faiza Abdul Wahab (Dawn)

By Amina Siddiqui (Dawn)

COMMUNICATION is obligatory to the human experience. Since early civilization, man has devised endless means for sharing information, thoughts, ideas, feelings, needs, etc., — non-verbally through gestures, signs, actions, cave drawings, the beating of drums, and verbally through a common set of words and sentences leading to the evolution of umpteen languages on earth.

Communication skills improved over time, from graphic exchanges of pictures to the creation of the alphabet, leading to the emergence of reading and writing skills. Today we communicate through the electronic media, using sophisticated instruments, such as fax and telex machines, computers, television, mobile phones, the Global Positioning System (GPS) installed on seaborne vessels, and much more. Thus the acquisition of speech and language is considered a dynamic skill innate to the human species. However, it is easily influenced by environmental, social, cultural, parental, and biological parameters.

The sad truth we faced in Pakistan until a few years ago was the absence of nationally-qualified professionals in the field of Speech Language Pathology to work with children and adults with communicative impediments and swallowing disorders.

A survey conducted in Karachi to gauge the number of those affected elaborated the picture. It concluded that an estimated over 22 million individuals in an overall population of over 160 million suffered from speech, language, swallowing and/or hearing disorders. At present there are only seven qualified Speech Language Pathologists/Therapists (SLPs/SLTs) all of whom have qualified abroad to cater to the needs of these 22 million individuals across the nation.

All of these seven SLTs/SLPs worked in private hospitals and clinics with a staggering caseload humanly difficult to cope with. They conducted short training programmes for special educationists and parents, which proved to be inadequate for the needs of the patients across the country. An extensive degree course was staunchly needed as an attempt to begin to fill the vacuum of qualified SLTs.

Realising the gravity of this scenario, stalwarts from the field of Pediatrics Dr A.G. Billoo NI, Dr Nargis Khan and Dr Habiba Hasan, Neurologist Dr Najam Sheikh, Medicine Dr Farhat Abbas, Psychologist and President of ACELP Meher Hasan, social worker and President of AURA Aban Jamall and SLTs Ms Sabah Habib Fazil, Abdul Samad Mukati and Amina Siddiqui formed the Speech and Hearing Association of Pakistan (SHAP), a nongovernmental, noncommercial, voluntary organisation to draft a programme that would cater to little children, adults and their families suffering from speech, language, hearing and/or swallowing disorders.

To fulfill their dream, SHAP approached the Ziauddin University (ZU), another nonprofit medical institution actively involved in the promotion and advancement of health sciences through excellence in teaching, research and public services.

Pledging complete support to SHAP, Dr Asim Hussain, ZU’s chancellor, and Mr Shahid Aziz Siddiqui, its vice chan cellor, constructed a custom-built 5,000 sq feet sound-treated and air-conditioned space with state-of-the art equipment for evaluation, therapy, and teaching in the vicinity of the Dr Ziauddin Hospital, Clifton. Through the sincere collaborative efforts of SHAP and ZU the nation’s first and only Speech Language Therapy Training School now known as the Ziauddin College of Speech Language Therapy (ZCSLT) was established in Karachi. ZU’s contribu tion of Rs10,000,000 as capital cost was its donation towards ZCSLT.

Having recently returned from USA on completion of her Master’s in Speech Language Pathology, the young and enthusiastic Dr Mariam Syeda was overwhelmed by the plight of patients here. She offered her earnest services to ZCSLT. Soon, Mahwash Sait, Seema Ahmed and Aasiya Sachwani (Karachi) and Ayesha Butt (Islamabad) also having returned to Pakistan with degrees in Speech language Pathology from the US and the UK, offered their unconditional services to assist, support and strengthen the work going on at ZCSLT.

SHAP and ZU aim to increase awareness among the general public, opinion leaders and the media of the strengths and needs of people with communication and swallowing disorders/difficulties and establish clinical services of international standard for them. They also aimed to establish a complete four-year Bachelor’s programme in Speech Language Therapy (B.Sc. SLT) to fill the vacuum of SLTs in Pakistan and conduct research and development for the local population.

As a run up to the B.Sc. SLT training programme, pioneered by SHAP-ZU, in May 2006, the ZCSLT started clinical services identifying, diagnosing and treating adults and children with the following disorders:

• Hearing impairment (for adults and children).

• Language disorders (for children with specific language impairment, mental retardation, Down’s Syndrome, autism spectrum disorders, learning disabilities, etc.).

• Language disorders (for adults with dysphasia and/or communication difficulties, etc.).

• Voice disorders (for children and adults with voice problems, adult laryngectomees).

• Dysfluency (childhood stammering, and adult stammering).

• Functional articulation disorders (children and adults having unclear speech).

• Neurogenic speech disorders (children and adults with speaking difficulty [dysarthria or dyspraxia ]).

• Swallowing disorders (children and adults with eating, drinking and swallowing disorders).

• Cleft lip and/or palate and maxillofacial disorders (adults and children).

The ability to communicate through the use of speech and language is regarded as one of the most complex human achievements and is fundamental to personal development throughout life. The bulk of our contacts and work is done through spoken or written language. When a person is unable to communicate adequately and effectively, the capacity for relationships is reduced, the potential for achievement inhibited, making an enormous impact on the quality of life.

Any speech or language disorder that seriously limits children’s participation in learning activities can cause serious educational difficulties, s/he is unable to participate in numerous activities that help him to mature socially and become a successful and reasonably well-adjusted adult. A person with a significant hearing impairment may only be able to communicate effectively under favourable circumstances such as when using a hearing aid or through lip reading or using signs/gestures. The consequences of such handicaps in adults include vocational handicap, which make a person dependant on others unlike a self-supporting member of the family.

The intense demand for services in this field had been felt, the ground work accomplished; the B.Sc. SLT programme curriculum, hours of teaching, both theory and practicum, hours of clinical work, faculty and staff requirements, etc., were carefully done by SHAP and shared both nationally and internationally. The approval for the same was obtained from ZU, Communication Therapy International (CTI)-UK, the Speech Language Therapy Department, University of New Castle upon Tyne, New Castle, UK, Audiology and Speech Language Therapy Department and TN Medical College, University of Mumbai, India.

The vision was clear, to serve the people in need of services thereof. ZCSLT launched the four-year B.Sc. SLT programme in Oct 2007 in the holy month of Ramazan, with six brilliant students, who were to be the torch bearers and future master trainers in speech language therapy in Pakistan. In view of the average income of a Pakistani household, the student fee was kept affordable, and may be further subsidized in deserving cases.

A number of continuing educational programmes, workshops and seminars have been conducted at the ZCSLT by visiting SLTs from the US and the UK. Through this article SHAP reaches out to SLTs of Pakistani origin to contribute towards the services being offered at the ZCSLT by joining the college as visiting consultants/faculty on a short-term (four to six weeks) or long-term (six months) basis.

SHAP also reaches out to philanthropists across Pakistan to donate towards ZCSLT who now aim to build a fully equipped lab for purposes of research and development in the realms of speech language assessment and therapeutic strategies for the affected population of Pakistan. By developing a graduate programme in SLT and a research lab the ZCSLT further aims to formulate Masters and PhD programmes in Speech Language Therapy in future. SHAP also seeks financial support for the low income patients being seen therein.

SLTs have stupendous scope in our country and across the globe. The career is very rewarding and satisfying. It is a profession that may stand alone or work in parallel with doctors, occupational or physical therapists, teachers or special educationists as SLTs make life worth living for those afflicted by communicative impairments.” ¦ The writer, an audiologist and SLT, is director ZCSLT.

Students fed up with Karachi violence

Students fed up with law and order situation
Karachi, Aug 21: Students at various public-sector universities have bitterly complained about the law and order situation in Karachi that is affecting their education and driving them towards despondency and a sense of purposelessness.

In absence of any notification from the University of Karachi (KU) or other universities, students were left in a peculiar situation on Friday. They knew that the university was open but the absence of public transport or the points of the KU stopped them from coming to the university. Some students who managed to come to their alma mater were greeted by empty classrooms sans teachers.

Sundus Saba and Kamal Ahmed were two such students who found that there cumbersome sojourn to the university, after all, were in vain. “Look sir, we are here after facing many difficulties and the uncanny situation at the city roads only to find that our struggle has gone down the drain. We have five days in a week for studies that too is hardly implemented. Now we are studying only three or four days. How can we cope with the studies, with our credit hours? It seems the university and the teachers and staff are least interested in the academic pursuit of the university. They (KU) have increased the tuition fee but do not try to bring some sort of sanity in the university,” bitterness was evident from Saba, a BS third year student in the Science Faculty.

Some students lounging in the Arts Lobby were furious at the government and the university administration. I asked them why were they angry at the KU administration. “Why?” a young student from the English Department spoke indignantly. “They (KU) do not have a clear policy to deal with these situations. They should announce that the university was closed or open and make adequate arrangement for the transport. The university is found lacking on this point. We are least concerned that the governor did or did not announce the closure. The university must have some independence to manage its own affairs, decently,” anger was evident in her voice. Other students nod their assent.

Former Dean Faculty of Arts Dr Muhammad Shamsuddin and Adjunct Professor in the Department of Mass Communications was present in the department and agreed that the students were rightly indignant and there should be some planning to deal with such situations. “We should try to avoid academic loss like this”.

NED University of Engineering & Technology and Federal Urdu University of Arts, Science & Technology (FUUAST) had the same problem and the students more or less voice their concern at the wastage of their academic year in such a way.

In the meantime attendance in the schools and colleges was minimal as the fear; uncertainty compounded by the absence of public transport compelled the students to remain indoors.

Private medical colleges : PMDC no more credible

Private medical colleges held responsible: PMDC no more credible: member
Karachi, Aug 21: An elected member of the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) from Sindh said on Friday that the regulatory body for the medical profession in the country had lost its credibility and needed to be bailed out from the influence of a “private medical college mafia” at the earliest.

Speaking at a press conference here the member, Dr Shershah Syed, claimed that more than half of the private medical colleges recognised by the PMDC did not even fulfil the minimally required criteria for a recognition.

“Today politicians and retired generals and health professionals having connections in the corridors of power have jumped on the medical education bandwagon to exploit the non-meritorious students seeking admissions and earn huge easy money,” he said.

Flanked by two former senior office-bearers of the Pakistan Medical Association, Dr Mirza Ali Azhar and Dr Qaiser Sajjad, Dr Shah severely criticised the overall working of the PMDC and mentioned that he could say with responsibility that the medical profession was going through a serious crisis now a days.

“If the government through the federal health ministry does not take appropriate and bold actions, the medical profession will never recover from its lost credibility, prestige and honour,” he said, adding that big politicians, well-known retired army generals, mafia of medical doctors belonging to the public and the private sectors were responsible for the mess.

He appealed to the federal health minister, the prime minister and the president of Pakistan to intervene and save the medical education and training and profession in the country.

He suggested for immediate actions like restructuring of the PMDC and making it a body of 35 members from all over the country as per a previous decision of the Supreme Court of Pakistan; equal representation from the private and the public sectors medical colleges in the PMDC; formation of an enquiry committee to look into the affairs of the recognition of private and public medical colleges.

He said that things could be corrected only by ensuring a complete transparency in the working of the PMDC and democratisation in decision making by the council instead of decisions from a hand-picked executive committee and the private mafia.

He expressed the view that the nominated members as well as the representatives of the private medical colleges did not allow the council to work as an autonomous, powerful and independent regulatory body.

“The members who try to raise their voice and talked about the observance of rules and regulations of the PMDC are undermined by the members representing the private medical colleges who formed a majority in the council and largely serving the interest of the owners of private medical colleges,” he said.

He said that a senate committee had decided some years ago for a moratorium on the opening of new medical colleges, but the PMDC was continuing recognising new institutions.

The PMDC had so far recognised 95 medical colleges in the public and the private sectors, many of which did not even have a proper or full-time faculty and meaningful teaching hospitals, which was a matter of grave concern, he said and pointed out that the PMDC was also unable to take notice of violations of rules like increase in the number of seats in colleges without the approval of the PMDC.

Dr Shah said that the Supreme Court in December 2006 had ordered the PMDC to complete the membership of the council in line with the PMDC ordinance, but there was no compliance with the order and the PMDC was working in total violation of the Supreme Court order and literally had become a private medical and dental council.

He further said that the owners of private medical colleges were showing their affiliation with rural health centres and district general hospitals run by the government and converting their status to tertiary care centres.

Dr Qaiser Sajjad said that because of the poor implementation of rules and absence of a commitment to them by the federal health ministry, the education and training components were being compromised and there was a fear that if things were not rectified, the nation would have to rest with the “glorified MBBS quacks” lacking basic qualities and proving dangerous for the nation and its masses in the coming days.

Dr Mirza Ali Azhar said that there was a need to think about the status and quality of medical education and training system of the country and having a foolproof regulation of medical institutions.

He was of the view that the civil society and doctors should join hands to make the government bring positive changes in the PMDC for the production of best doctors. Dawn