PMDC warns FJMC of ‘closure’

A file photo shows Fatima Jinnah Medical College students protest outside their college for their demands. —White Star/File

 

LAHORE: The Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) has warned Fatima Jinnah Medical College for Women (FJMC) Lahore, of proceedings in a “de-recognition notice” under PMDC Amendment Ordinance 2012 over dearth of faculty and other alleged deficiencies.

Besides local students, as many as 300 would-be lady doctors admitted by the FJMC against allocated seats every year hail from countries like Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, U.A.E, Palestine, Malaysia, Maldives, Sri Lanka, USA, the UK and Australia.

In response to the PMDC notice, warning the prestigious institution of some major punishments, including de-recognition, closure and transfer of its students to other medical colleges, FJMC Principal Prof Dr Fakhar Imam immediately wrote to the authorities informing them of the repercussions of taking such ‘aggressive’ steps against it.

Also read: PMDC to de-notify seven universities

Named after Ms Fatima Jinnah in 1948, the all-women institution is attached with the Sir Ganga Ram Hospital that runs one of the major facilities offering gyne-related healthcare services in the province.

A senior official told Dawn the FJMC had been facing an acute shortage of senior faculty for the last one decade or so. The official said the college administration failed to address the issue despite repeated warnings by the PMDC.

Unfortunately, he said, the de-recognition warning by the PMDC came at a time when the case of this premier institution’s elevation to the status of university was in final stages.

He said the PMDC strongly snubbed the FJMC management, as well as the Punjab government, for not overcoming teacher’s shortage. Many academic programmes being run by the college for MBBS and BDS students were on the verge of closure due to shortage of senior faculty members, he added.

Points out various shortcomings in institution, especially acute shortage of faculty

Keeping in view the complaints being received by the PMDC, the council had tasked a team of senior officials to carry out detailed inspections of FJMC’s medical and dental sections, faculty and other relevant components, to bring facts to the light.

The official said according to the PMDC criteria, the inspection team gave only 185.4 points out of total 300 to the FJMC. The council admonished the government functionaries concerned following the report for the college’s low score.

Quoting the report, the PMDC notice mentioned that six departments of the college were functioning almost without any teaching staff.

The PMDC team pointed out, “Anatomy department of the FJMC was short of a professor, two associate and five assistant professors. Similarly, pathology department was facing shortage of a professor, three associate and five assistant professors, biochemistry two associate and three assistant professors, Pharmacology one professor, two associate and three assistant professors, community medicine units, one each professor, associate and assistant professor, forensic medicine department (units) four each professors, associate and assistant professors, medicine department (units) three associate and three senior registrars, pediatric department (units) two professors, two associate and two senior registrars, ophthalmology department (units) two professors, one each associate and registrar, while ENT department was also functioning without a professor.”

Quoting 25 (A) section of 2012 Amendment in the PMDC Ordinance 1962, the council’s notice indicated major punishments for the FJMC in phases, including stoppage of further admissions to the college, withdrawal of recognition and the institute’s closure. It warned that the admitted students of the FJMC might be transferred to the other public sector medical colleges of the province.

FJMC Principal Prof Dr Fakhar Imam did not attend calls made to her for her stance.

Punjab Health Secretary Jawad Rafique Malik said he had already taken serious notice of the issue as the department knew well “why” the PMDC was taking steps against the medical institutions of Punjab.

He said the PMDC had also taken similar steps against some other medical colleges of the province but the health department was already taking steps to improving overall functioning of these institutions by taking many radical measures.

“I have ordered the (FJMC principal) Prof Fakhar Imam to arrange faculty to fill all the (vacant) teaching positions from registrar to the professor to overcome the shortage at the esteemed medical institute without wasting further time”, he said.

Mr Malik said the health department would be in contact with the institution till the posting of the senior medics against all vacant positions to avoid de-recognition or any other punishment by the PMDC.

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