Saturday, June 18, 2011

Doctors support sought for child protection against typhoid

Sindh Health Minister, Dr. Saghir Ahmed has asked the child specialists to collaborate with government in its efforts to protect children against vaccine preventable diseases.
Addressing a session organized by Trust for Vaccines and Immunization (TVI) headed by senior pediatrician Prof. Abdul Ghaffar Billoo, yesterday he appreciated TVI initiative for vaccination of school and madressah children against Typhoid.
He commended the spirit of the NGO and the doctors involved in the exercise and the pace of speed with which more than 120,000 school and madressah going children from Gulshan and Jamshed Towns were vaccinated against typhoid fever.
The minister said such campaigns were prerequisite for the quality health of children and needed to be replicated. "I appeal to the child specialists, general physicians and volunteers to assist the government in its Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI)", he said.
Dr. Mustafa Shah of TVI shared with the participants of the meeting the results of Typhoid Vaccination Campaign.
He said approximately 12,000 vaccines have been administered in 1800 public and private schools as well as madressahs in Gulshan Town and Jamshed Town respectively.
He said physicians, teachers, head teachers and religious leaders had played an important role in convincing parents about the benefits of vaccination and its impact in protection of children against the disease.
Dr. Shah expressed his gratitude to Sindh Health Department, City District Government - Karachi, Aga Khan University and International Vaccine Institute for their support.(Daily News)

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Pakistan’s eminent physicist, Dr I. H Usmani was among the pioneers of nuclear energy and technology in Pakistan. He was an effective administrator, visionary, mentor and a tireless perfectionist

Ishrat Hussain Usmani was born on April 15, 1917. He graduated in Science from the Muslim University in Aligharh and did his Masters in Physics from Bombay University.

In 1939, young Usmani moved to Imperial College, University of London for a doctorate. He wrote his thesis entitled “A study of the growth of compound crystals by electron diffraction” under the supervision of renowned physicist Niels Bohr – The Nobel laureate and founder of the atomic model. He was also taught by G P Thomson, the Nobel laureate son of Professor J. J Thomson. Interestingly, he did his PhD in Physics within two years; he was only 23-years-old when he successfully finished his PhD.

In 1942, He also passed the Indian Civil Services (ICS) examination with distinctions and served as District Officers at Madras Presidency from 1942-47.

After the independence, Dr. Usmani moved to Pakistan where he was appointed as chief controller of imports and exports and served in various Governmental designations.

A visionary for nuclear science and technology

In 1959, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto – then a young minister of Ayub Khan’s Cabinet – appointed I. H. Usmani as a member of the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PEAC) and upon the request of President Ayub Khan, took charge of the chairmanship of the PEAC in 1960.

Almost immediately, Dr. I. Usmani worked towards enhancing the PEAC as a world renowned organization. He used various practical and innovative strategies in a scientific manner to develop high-class manpower, up-to-date instruments and state-of-the-art facilities.

He selected 50 individuals with masters’ degrees in Physics, Chemistry, Engineering and Geology on merit basis for the orientation of the nuclear science and technology program. These scientists were named Officers on Special Training (OSTs) and then sent abroad for doctoral and post-doctoral research in esteemed universities and institutes abroad. For this vision, Usmani put in immense effort and resources; using even his personal contacts all across the world.

He produced at least 400 bright minds in various disciplines of nuclear sciences and technology in a very short span. It was then that the well-educated and dedicated team of experts ushered in a new era of research and development in the country. He was the only person in Pakistan’s history to have created the largest galaxy of experts in nuclear-related fields.

As a strong proponent of peaceful usage of nuclear technology, he launched multi-dimensional programs to produce nuclear energy, research and development to address national needs by using radio isotopes in health, agriculture and industry.

Dr. I. Usmani fully utilized the services of OSTs and established nuclear centers in Karachi, Lahore, Faisalabad, Tando Jam, Dhaka, Chittagong, Memon Singh.

These state-of-the-art centers paved the way for research and development in metallurgy, agriculture and the health industry with the help of nuclear technology. Even today, the country-wide cluster of nuclear diagnostic centers, the new variety of crops and precision engineering are fruits of his vision and efforts.

Dr. Usmani also served as vice-chairman of the Pakistan Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO); setting the foundation of the country’s national space agency.

He also played a pivotal role in establishing the Pakistan Institute of Nuclear Science and Technology (PINSTECH), now a leading establishment for research, training and capacity building – Dr. Usmani spent many a late night on this, his dream.

As a determined leader, he enthused world renowned architect Edward Stone to design and construct the PINSTECH building. Edward Stone fused eastern architecture with the modern labs building; giving it a likeness to the Taj Mahal. The building was dubbed as “Best of both the worlds” by Time Magazine. It also holds a research reactor.

Dr I. H Usmani left the PEAC in 1971 and turned the commission into the world’s leading research organisation for the peaceful utilisation of nuclear power.

The sad story

He also negotiated with international bodies – like the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) – for the first ever nuclear power plant of Pakistan. After years of hard work, he finally succeeded to develop the Karachi Nuclear Power Plant (KANUPP) which is also the first ever commercial nuclear reactor of the Islamic world.

Sadly in 1972, at the inaugural ceremony of Kanupp, he was not invited – even as a respected citizen! Dr. Usmani was an outspoken person and even a harsh critic of government policies which duly brought about an increase in the numbers of his enemies.

Following this, he was invited by Mohammad Rezā Shāh Pahlavi, Shah of Iran to establish three nuclear plants in the country, but the scheme was never performed due to the Iranian Revolution.

Dr I. H Usmani presented the idea of Scientific Services, parallel to the Civil Service of Pakistan. He was a strong supporter in wanting to attain energy for the country needs and a pioneer of the Pakistan Science Foundation, the government agency for the promotion of Science and Technology; thus unquestionably making him among the founder of Pakistan’s scientific infrastructure.

He was also elected as the chairman of the board of governors for the IAEA and headed many conferences entitled “Atom for Peace”. He was then appointed as UN’s Senior Energy Advisor from 1974-78 when he did comprehensive surveys of renewable energy particularly in developing states.

Dr. Usmani established two regional centers of alternative energy in Senegal and Sri Lanka. He was a strong advocate of the non-conventional ways of producing energy and dedicated the last days of his life for the same cause.

Dr. I. H. Usmani also served as a Secretary General of the BCCI, International Foundation for the New and Emerging Sciences and Technologies (NEST).

Dr Abdus Salam always said: “Science is the common heritage of mankind”, surely as scientist Dr. Usmani was a heritage of all humanity. He breathed his last on June 17, 1992.(Suhail Yusuf - Dawn)

Federal Medical and Dental College becomes a reality PM announces Rs50m for upgradation of NIH Hospital

Prime Minster Syed Yousuf Gillani inaugurates Fedral Medical Dental College in Islamabad
Islamabad: Affiliated with the Quaid-i-Azam University and with the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) providing attached hospital facilities, the Federal Medical and Dental College (FMDC) was inaugurated by Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani at a ceremony originally scheduled at PIMS, but subsequently shifted to the Prime Minister’s Secretariat here on Tuesday.

Lack of parking space spelled huge inconvenience for guests, who had to park their vehicles at a 15 to 20-minute walking distance from the venue and brave the scorching summer sun amidst the tightest of security hurdles before finally making it to the fortress of power. Many invitees preferred returning to their homes and offices on seeing the situation. All senior journalists and camera crew designated to cover the beat of the Prime Minister boycotted the ceremony as there was no sign of the PM till 6:00 p.m. even though guests were to be seated by 4:30 p.m. The ceremony was attended by Minister for Health Riaz Pirzada, Minister of State for Health Sardar Shahjahan Yusuf, Secretary Health Nargis Sethi, project director of FMDC Dr. Jehanzeb Aurakzai, and executive director of PIMS Prof. Dr. Mehmood Jamal.

Addressing the gathering, the PM said the establishment of a medical college was a longstanding demand that merited attention in view of the immense pressure on the country’s existing medical institutions, given that a growing number of aspirants are aspiring for a career in medicine. “This is the first public sector medical college in the country with an affordable fee structure and medical education that will be at par with international standards,” he said.

The PM paid tributes to the leadership in the health sector-the Ministry of Health and doctors and health professionals of PIMS-who accomplished the task of establishing FMDC in the shortest possible time. He then recounted some of the key health initiatives taken by the government. These included establishment of the National Health Emergency and Response Network in the wake of the 2010 floods; incentivizing of medical services through implementation of an improved career structure for health care professionals; and provision of an integrated health facility to the residents of Bhara Kahu and rural areas of Islamabad. “We converted an almost non-functional health centre in Bhara Kahu to a quality mini-hospital where the people of the area are provided all major services under one roof. This has significantly reduced the burden on two major hospitals in the capital city while saving precious lives which were being lost while ferrying emergency cases from these areas to hospitals in urban areas,” the PM remarked.

Referring to the increasing number of cases of liver cirrhosis, the PM recounted the government’s efforts to establish the country’s first-ever liver transplant centre. Funds for the centre were provided by the government and work is now nearing completion. “This will be a life-saving facility for thousands of families who are unable to afford the expensive treatment for this life threatening condition,” he said. With reference to polio, the PM said the district administration has been made responsible for anti-polio activities, and that a policy of zero tolerance has been introduced for any official found wanting in his task.

Coming to FMDC, the gathering was informed that the first batch of the college would comprise 50 students. The college is currently housed in PIMS, but will soon be shifted to its designated premises in the National Institute of Health, where it will benefit from the institute’s available research base. An effort is said to have been made to ensure that only high quality trained medical professionals render instructional services in the college. State-of-the-art equipment and laboratories are being provided to train students so that they can compete both at home and abroad besides being equipped to provide top-quality medical services.(Shahina Maqbool - The News)

Government’s support in establishing the FDA-approved drug manufacturing plants in the province

KARACHI June 16, 2011: Sindh Health Minister Dr Saghir Ahmad has assured the pharmaceutical industry of the government’s support in establishing the FDA-approved drug manufacturing plants in the province.

Speaking at the Award Ceremony and Gala Dinner of the First Pakistan Pharma Summit, organized by the Pakistan Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association (PPMA) recently, he said that the government was committed to assisting industries in creating employment opportunities and earning foreign exchange for the country.

Dr Saghir Ahmed offered his support to the PPMA in removing obstacles hindering progress and strengthening local pharmaceutical industry.

He said that there has to be a balanced representation from all the provinces in the appellate boards to be established in each province for handling complaints against drug industry and issues related to pricing of drugs.

Speaking on the occasion, Adviser to Prime Minister Mirza Ikhtiar Baig said that this conference, which happens to be the first of its kind, will prove extremely helpful for the growth and development of pharma industry.

He asked the PPMA to provide him with a list of pharmaceutical products that they wish to include in “Zero-rated” for exports to China. Such a list, he said, was being currently prepared by the government.

Earlier, M. Haroon Qasim, Chairman, PPMA said one of the biggest challenges that the pharmaceutical industry is currently facing is the health ministry's proposed transfer to provinces which will also cause the devolution of the pharmaceutical industry. There is a danger in this because standards of every province will be different, he added.

Dr. Kaiser Waheed, Managing Director, Medisure Pharma, Muhammad Amin Khan, Chairman, Zafa Group of Companies and others also spoke at the occasion.