Much to his chagrin, MBBS student Muhammad Sadiq missed his tenth distinction by 0.1 per cent. “[It’s just] too bad I missed [it],” Sadiq quipped. He was nonchalant about the other nine distinctions he did get in subjects ranging from Anatomy to Pathology and a gold medal at the Ziauddin Medical University convocation on Tuesday.
He missed out in Pharmacy, scoring 74.9 per cent, just short of the distinction cut-off at 75 per cent.
This minor disappointment aside, Sadiq celebrated graduation with his classmates at the Expo Centre where a total of 235 degrees were awarded by Vice Chancellor Professor Dr Anwar Ejaz Beg at the eighth convocation.
The graduates included a doctor of philosophy, a master of philosophy and a master of science in chemical pathology. Another 73 students received their MBBS, 41 were awarded doctors of pharmacy degrees while 36 earned their bachelors in medical technology, 16 in medical technology (laboratory medicine) and 66 in physical therapy.
Beg said that he hoped the faculty’s efforts to transfer their learning and knowledge to the young group had been successful and the graduates would make their institution proud.
While distinction-winning Sadiq’s peers and teachers see a bright future for him, he said he doesn’t consider the prospects of doctors practising in the country right now as “too bright”. In his opinion, doctors can only be satisfied and perform with complete dedication once they are financially secure. That is why meeting the demands of the Young Doctors Association, which include higher and uniform pay would plug the brain drain Pakistan, he argued.
Next, Sadiq will complete his house job at Ziauddin Hospital but eventually he plans to go to the United States for further training. “We have teachers who returned after training there,” he said. “Their approach towards patients was very different and engaging.”
Among the various disciplines, gynaecology and obstetrics secured the highest number of distinctions. The second gold medallist with a cumulative grade point average of 3.58 was Sarwat Jahan. She wore a pink-lined robe that indicated her connection to the department of pharmacy. “This is only the beginning not the end of a long journey,” she remarked.
Jahan has started working at a private pharmaceutical company but plans to pursue further education within two years. “I hope to do my MBA in marketing,” she said, adding that is where the demand is. “Pharmacy is in great demand outside Pakistan and it is unfortunate the same doesn’t hold true within the country,” she said.
Graduating from the department of physical therapy, Farah Iqbal said doctors need to stay in the country but they need a good work environment and better opportunities.
Associate clinical dean Professor Abbas Zafar pointed to the devaluation of the Pakistani rupee as one reason why opportunities in the Middle East have become so enticing for doctors. “After 9/11, doctors from the west have been avoiding the Middle East and since the Indian rupee is stronger it doesn’t attract those doctors as much. The Middle East is pumping a lot of money into health care and someone needs to fill that gap.”
Student Asma Ismail said that she agreed with the keynote speaker, Shahid Aziz Siddiqui, on the revolution of learning through computers. According to Siddiqui, many people no longer view doctors as healing hands but rather as technicians who can read machines. Aziz urged graduates to bring back the personal relationship between doctor and patient by treating a person, not a symptom chart.