Wednesday, July 4, 2012

A poem from a brilliant young doctor

The best graduate of Allama Iqbal Medical College for the session 2002 to 2007, Muhammad Zaman Khan expresses his feelings in a poem.

It is a great honor for me to introduce Dr Muhammad Zaman Khan, one of the most idealized personalities of Jinnah Hospital. Here is a glimpse of his excellence.

He expresses his feelings about the current situation in these words:

Aey Khadim-e-aala rehney de, is khidmat se bezaar hain hum
Gar jeena marna aik sa he, merney k lia tayyar hain hum
Ho malik arbon kharbon ke, aur 'Khadim' bhookhey nangoun ke?
Ye shaubada bazi rehney de, be-haal sahi, baidaar hain hum
Auroun ki to wa’da shikni par, cheekhay bhi bohat, chillaey bohat
Kuch yaad dilaya ham ne agar, to keh daala “ghaddaar hain hum”

Hum tairey a’qoubat khanoon main, goonjey hain hila kar bunyaadain
Hum cheekh nahi majbooron ki, Aa ghour se sun lalkaar hain hum

Ye ehl-e-sitam ham se larr kar, khud haamptay kaamptay phirtey hain
Lapkey to jala kar rakh dain gey, ae barq! Subak raftaar hain hum

Haan tuj se shikayat na-haq he, han tuj se taqaaza khoob nahi
Hum ne hi diye they vote tujhe, is zulm k bhi haq-daar hain hum
Wake up, Pakistan.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Salute to the Punjab Government

When doctors are emotionally blackmailed to work and arrested for non-compliance, it's time for them to go.

I am a medical student of Final Year in a public medical college. I scored straight A's in both O and A Levels and have been passing my annual professional exams in first divisions. So you can safely presume that I'm not retarded.

Not long ago, I made the very tough decision to enter this profession. Now, I was facing the very tough decision whether to serve my country or go abroad and earn a worthwhile salary. But this decision has been made for me, thanks to the Punjab Government.

Lets take a quick round-up of the doctors' strike:

  • Doctors went on strike for a service structure last year but the government merely increased the existing pays to cool the doctors down and promised a proper service structure.
  • February 2012: Supreme Court orders Punjab Government to give the doctors a service structure.
  • May 2012: Doctors continue to pursue the government to give the doctors a service structures or they'll call a strike.
  • 15th June, 2012: Doctors call an OPD strike. This doubled their duty as instead of dealing OPD patients in office hours, they were dealing with them 24/7 in the emergencies. Wards and Operation Theaters were running as normal too.
  • Media gives the impression "Doctors are on strike and patients are dying". The public and the government are convinced.

  • 1st July, 2012: YDA calls a meeting of it's general body to discuss the future of the strike.
  • 11.30 PM: Police raids the Services Hospitals hostels and arrests all doctors in their sight. Remember, these were the doctors who were resting after their Emergency shift and were going to work the next shift.
  • After this treatment, all doctors from public hospitals flee. 

Now let's answer a few questions in the minds of the public.

Where is the injustice?
In Pakistan, doctors do not have a service structure. What this essentially means is that after 5 years of MBBS, about 50% of the doctors will get a paid house job of Rs 22,000 per month (Yes! In contrary to the blatant government lie that doctors earn at least 60,000!). The rest will work as honorary house officers, not earning a dime for their 36 hours shifts. After the house job, he'll have to pass FCPS Part-I to get employed as a trainee. If he is lucky enough to get a paid seat, he'll earn Rs 44,000 per month. Otherwise, he'll have to work honorary till a paid seat is vacated. Once he completes 4 years of his specialization, his contract ends and he is unemployed again. Again, he can start working on an honorary post as a Senior Registrar till a paid seat is available. Yes, 5 years of MBBS, 1 year of house job, 4 years of FCPS and there is still no guarantee of a paid job. I personally know a Senior Registrar working for free, tell me and I'll tell you the correspondence.
So who are the senior doctors? Out of about 34,000 young doctors in Punjab, only 200 will get from grade 17 to 20 via Public Service Commission. Wonderful prospects there, you see.
If there's one thing the doctors are fighting for, it's equality. Equality with other professions of this country, if not any special treatment.

What about the taxes spent on doctors?
Hardly any money is spent on doctors in reality. The medical teachers don't earn much, and facilities are in alarming state. Regardless, first the 90% female doctors who don't even practice after graduating should be held accountable instead of the ones working tirelessly in the wards. So please, think before you speak

Isn't this country too poor to afford this service structure?
No. Healthcare is a top priority in all developed countries. But we are an unfortunate lot where the state has failed to give the doctors a service structure for the past 65 years. Here, Rs 2 billion are spent on laptops to support political campaigns but we are too poor for an efficient healthcare system.

What do doctors earn in other countries?
Doctors mostly go to the gulf, US, UK or Australia.
KSA- 4,000 riyals onwards.
USA- $10,000 onwards.
UK- 2,000 pounds onwards.
Australia- $7,000 onwards.
And just for interest, Indian doctors earn 1,70,000 Indian rupees. That's more than PKR 2 lacs.

Why don't they leave then?
This, just like our Ex-Prime Minister, is the million dollar question. The doctors are putting their patients- the poor Pakistanis ahead of their prospects to earn abroad. But they are frustrated now. They want a better future in Pakistan, or else other countries will sweep this country of it's finest minds.

As for me, I don't see how things are going to get any better for doctors in this country. Naturally, I have planned to apply abroad. And I'd like to salute the Punjab Government for helping me and many others like me to make this decision.