ISLAMABAD: The Senate Standing Committee on National Health Services (NHS) on Monday took notice of a picture circulating on the social media for over a year.
In the picture, a man wearing a vest is shown conducting a surgery on a patient.
The committee directed the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) to submit a report on the matter.
The issue was raised by MQM Senator Mian Ateeq.
During the discussion it was pointed out that laboratories and clinics were in pathetic condition and unqualified people ran medical centres.
Senator Ateeq showed members the picture and asked how a doctor can conduct an operation in a vest.
“According to my information, the person who claims to be a physician and surgeon belongs to Jhang,” he said.
Committee Chairman Sajjad Hussain Turi said it was a very serious issue and should be investigated.
Though the acting registrar of the PMDC, Dr Azhar Ali Shah, assured the committee that the council would inquire about the ‘doctor’, Director General Ministry of NHS Dr Asad Hafeez said the council cannot address such issues unless it is strengthened through legislation.
“The PMDC cannot take action against quacks unless someone lodges a report with it. A number of homeopaths and dispensers have been posing as MBBS doctors but the PMDC cannot take action against them as it does not have magisterial powers,” Dr Hafeez said.
He suggested that not only legislation should be done to strengthen the PMDC but a council should also be established to look into the irregularities in the health sector.
Senator Azam Swati of the PTI intervened and said no one knew better the situation of the health sector than him because he had been working for the betterment of the sector for years.
“Thousands of people have fake medical degrees and diplomas and are earning millions of rupees on the basis of such bogus documents. There is a huge scam involving fake diplomas and a sitting senator is behind it,” he alleged.
“It is unfortunate that one could get a diploma of any field from institutes where no more than three or four people worked,” he said.
He said he had submitted a bill to the house proposing that the punishment for quackery should be increased from the current Rs200,000 fine and six months imprisonment.
“People have opened laboratories in small shops and even in bathrooms. I suggest that there should be a death penalty for those found playing with the health of the citizens,” Senator Swati said.
Senator Ateeq agreed that the punishment for quackery should be increased but he pointed out that well-known teaching hospitals were also violating the rules.
He informed the meeting that being a member of the NHS committee he visited a number of teaching hospitals but could not see a single patient getting free of cost treatment.
According to the PMDC rules, teaching hospitals should provide free of cost treatment to 50pc of their patients.
Courtesy: Dawn News