The Vice Chancellor of Dow University of Health Sciences, in Pakistan, Prof. Mohammad Saeed Quraishy said that the number of doctors in the field of family medicine is insufficient.

“As a developing country,” he said as the Chief Guest of First Family Medicine Symposium held at Arag Auditorium, Dow Medical College, “we face a lot of challenges; the provision of quality healthcare is among the top ones. With the establishment of family medicine department, Dow University has managed to take its name to the underprivileged slums of the city for providing quality healthcare.”

The symposium was also addressed by the Dr. Riaz Qureshi, Director of Family Medicine department, Aga Khan University, Dr. Janet Haley from United Kingdom, Dr. Anum Arshad Baig, and other also spoke on the Symposium. Dr. Mohammad Saeed Quraishy further said that the provision of basic healthcare facilities to the doorsteps of our masses has opened up a new era of quality healthcare system.

Not only providing consultation by specialized doctors but the university is also providing all medication and tests free of cost. Provision of basic healthcare units, under the umbrella of public private partnership goes on to show what we as a nation are capable of. He added that as a medical superintendent, he stabilized the department of family medicine at Civil Hospital. A delegate team, from Japan, visiting the hospital that time also appreciated his efforts.

Dr. Riaz Qureshi, Director of Family Medicine department, Aga Khan University, said regarding the evolution of Family Medicine Department that it is an integral part of the healthcare system. “The healthcare sector of Pakistan,” he said, “has been suffering from primary issues. There are insufficient doctors in this field as most of them go abroad.

He further stated that general practitioners of this field are serving at the front line against Dengue, Malaria and typhoid. Approximately, 90 percent of patients seek consultation from a family medicine specialist first and then he is referred to other specialists after that. According to the statistics of 2009, there were 35 percent of family physicians and 15 percent of specialists in Pakistan.

An underdeveloped country like Pakistan, where a minute percentage of GDP is being spent on healthcare, there is a need to make family medicine sector more stabilized than ever. He said that due to the addition of different fields of specialization, the importance of family physicians is enhanced because it won’t be possible to know which specialist to consult without going to a family medicine physician. He added that the field of family medicine gained interest in the 60th decade in Pakistan. Doctors need to be trained in family medicine at mass level because no other option would be better to contribute towards a developing country than working in this field.

Family medicine specialists Dr. Janet Haley, while comparing her country to Pakistan, said that the field of Family Medicine is quite stable in United Kingdom while there are sufficient general practitioners also. Pakistan needs to raise the number of general practitioners in family medicine. She emphasized upon students to study and seek training in this field to serve the humanity. She said that serving 10 minutes on each patient will let you learn a lot. The seminar was concluded with the distribution of certificates and shields to the participants by Prof. Mohammad Saeed Quraishy.