KARACHI: President Arif Alvi has said that focus of medical professionals should be on prevention of diseases as it is very difficult for a resource-starved country like Pakistan to provide medical treatment to each and every patient.
“I believe that allocation for health must be increased but we are a resource-starved nation and I also believe that prevention is better than cure. As a dental professional, I know that 95 percent of dental ailments are preventable and we cannot provide quality medical treatment to each and every patient in such a large population, so we must focus on preventive approach along with curation,” President Alvi said while addressing the inaugural ceremony of 23 Annual International Conference of Pakistan Society of Rheumatology (PSR) here at a local hotel in Karachi.
Over two dozen international experts from several European countries, Middle East and North America are attending the four-day annual international conference on rheumatic disorders while a large of experts from different cities of Pakistan as well as students from medical varsities and colleges are also attending the medical moot.
President Alvi maintained that Lady Health Workers (LHWs) who go door to door in the country and mosques could play an important role in spreading the messages regarding prevention of diseases.
“Lady health workers can educate masses especially women on prevention while role of masses is very important in spreading the awareness regarding importance of cleanliness, which has been emphasized by Islam,” he said and urged that now the entire Pakistani society should be speaking about and focusing on prevention of diseases, which is the best approach for countries like Pakistan.
Deploring that a large number of Pakistani medical professionals migrated abroad after acquiring very subsidised education in Pakistan and settled there, he added that now Pakistan had become a matured country and was ready to welcome its professionals back.
“Pakistan is a matured nation now and we want peace and live peacefully. The whole Pakistani nation thinks alike and we want prosperity. Pakistani people are most humanity loving people who provided refuge to 3.5 million Afghan refugees when we could not even afford to host them, while 2.5 million of those refugees have their fourth generation still living here,” he said and urged medical professionals to show humanity and compassion while dealing with their patients.
He maintained that the present government was spending a significant amount of money on provision of medical services, giving health insurance to people while standard of medical education was also increasing in the country.
On the occasion, he congratulated the Pakistan Society for Rheumatology for holding such an extraordinary international conference and hoped that the society would continue its endeavours to increase the number of consultant rheumatologists in the country.
Sumaira Farman Raja thanked President Arif Alvi for inaugurating their annual international conference and emphasized that in a country with such a large population, the government should increase the spending on health as per WHO’s requirement of at least 6 percent of the GDP.
She informed that 1 in 2 adults suffer from musculoskeletal disorders and if not treated in time, these diseases continue to cripple, blind, paralyze, maim or cause organ failure. In developing countries, these diseases are among the top causes of disability.
According to her, as per international standards, Pakistan needs 2,000 adult and around 800 rheumatologists but deplored that there were only 60 such specialists but vowed to continue struggle from the PSR platform to promote this speciality in the country.
Convener of the conference Dr. Mahfooz Alam said due to their efforts for the last 22 years, their speciality is now well recognized in the country saying it was even evident from the presence of President Arif Alvi, who graced the occasion and decided to attend the annual international conference of the Pakistan Society of Rheumatology in Karachi.
He maintained Pakistan needs a lot more rheumatologists to lower the disease burden as at the moment, there are not more than 60-65 trained and qualified specialists of the field and called for establishment of rheumatology departments at more public and private hospitals and healthcare institutions in the country.
Later, President Arif Alvi presented shields to international and national rheumatologists who would be presenting their papers at the conference. Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Indus Health Network Prof. Abdul Bari Khan and large number of medical professionals were also present.