CPSP, UHS & Health RAB join hands with PAME to
promote the art of scientific publishing in Pakistan

Punjab Healthcare Commission is trying

to ensure patient safety and minimum
healthcare standards-Justice Amer Raza Khan

Medical Journalism is a tightly woven teamwork between
authors, reviewers, editors, publishers and
healthcare providers - Prof. Kh.Saadiq Husain

Training in Medical Writing should begin at undergraduate
level to promote the culture of Documentation and Research

LAHORE: Pakistan Association of Medical Editors (PAME) organized its Second National Conference at University of Health Sciences Lahore from April 26th to 27th 2014 which attracted over three hundred fifty delegates and participants including two invited guest speakers from Iran i.e. Prof. M.B. Rokni Editor Iranian Journal of Public Health and Iranian Journal of Parasitology from Tehran University of Medical Sciences and Dr.Behrooz Astaneh Editor Iranian Journal of Medical Sciences from Shiraz University of Medical Sciences. The conference was organized in collaboration with UHS, Eastern Mediterranean Association of Medical Editors (EMAME) and Health Research Advisory Board. Mr. Justice (Retd) Amer Raza Khan Chairman Punjab Healthcare Commission was the chief guest while an eminent educationist, former Principal of King Edward Medical College who is also former President of College of Physicians & Surgeons Pakistan was the Guest of Honour in the inaugural session. Prof. Mahmood Ali Malik another well known physician of the country and former Principal of King Edward Medical College graced the occasion with his presence as Chief Guest at the Conference Dinner which was also attended by many faculty members and eminent medical personalities. Presence and participation of these eminent medical personalities made the conference a historic and memorable event.

Pakistan Association of Medical Editors organized its Second National
Conference at UHS Lahore from April 26-27th 2014. Photograph taken
during the inaugural session shows sitting on the dais from (L to R)
Dr.Akhtar Sherin President PAME, Maj.Gen. Prof. M.Aslam VC UHS,
Mr.Justice Amer Raza Khan(Chief Guest), Prf. Kh. Saadiq Hussain 
(Guest of Honour) Dr. Maqbool H.Jafary President EMAME
and Dr. Jamshed Akhtar SG PAME

Addressing the participants in the inaugural session Mr. Justice Amer Raza Khan said that Punjab Health Care Commission is an autonomous statutory body which is tasked with the responsibility of persuading and enforcing minimum service delivery standards of service. It will also protect them from excesses by the public functionaries and the beneficiaries of such services.
In order to evolve and induce the service providers, hospitals and clinics to become part of the effort to improve, the Commission has in consultation with the tertiary and secondary hospital managements, doctors, homeopaths, Tabibs and Nurses identified and laid down minimum standards of healthcare and initiated monitoring and evaluation of their working. It is for the first time that equal standards have been laid down for all public and private hospitals and clinics which will be monitored by an independent statutory agency and their performance evaluated. Unfortunately some private medical colleges and their affiliated hospitals have now contributed to the present dismal state of healthcare services in Pakistan. The situation is much worse in healthcare facilities located outside the major cities. As member of the Board of Governors of UHS, I have overseen its efforts in arresting the prevalent chaos in the field of medical education, he added.
Continuing Justice Amer Raza Khan said that Punjab Healthcare Commission has decided not to adopt an “enforcement mode” but to solicit and encourage compliance. Initial inspection have revealed a woeful state of affairs which should not be allowed to continue and now in a number of cases, discernible improvements have been achieved and this gives us hope that not only are we on the right track but the objective envisaged are achievable and will be achieved. It will take time and effort. The task is difficult because we are dealing with a profession and with investors who have of late become over assertive and at times defiant. Hence, a cautious approach is the need of the hour.

Prof .Maj. Gen. Muhammad Aslam VC UHS who was chairman of the organizing committee
presenting mementoes to Prof. Kh. Saadiq Hussain(left) and Mr. Justice Amer Raza Khan
(Right) during inaugural session of Second National Conference of PAME

Yet another aspect of our responsibility, Justice Amer Raza Khan said was overseeing and implementation of ethical standards. We do not regulate the licensing of doctors which is done by the PM&DC which is also empowered to deal, with instances of malpractices. In fact PM&DC has jurisdiction over Teaching Hospitals and not all Hospitals. However, it does have disciplinary authority over medical practitioners in the provision of healthcare services by hospitals, clinics and medical practitioners and securing adherence to minimum healthcare standards mutually accepted by them all. Our complaint management system, Mr. Justice Amer Raza Khan further stated, is responsive and thorough to meet all the requirements of due process. Parties to a complaint are given adequate opportunities for presenting their cases. Specialists in relevant fields are engaged to give their opinion and investigatory visits to facilities complained against are conducted for collection of evidence. This Commission has the sole jurisdiction over cases pertaining to alleged medical negligence, malpractice or administrative failure and healthcare service providers have immunity against proceedings conducted against them at other forums. This has been an area which remained unattended for years. We see light at the end of the tunnel now and mutual efforts of all of us will surely not only ensure adherence to ethical values but also improve healthcare standards and resultantly restore and enhance the dignity of all involved in providing acceptable healthcare services, Mr.Justice Amer Raza Khan concluded.
Prof. Kh.Saadiq Hussain in his speech discussed in detail various aspects related to medical journalism i.e. Medical Research, the art of Medical Writing, Workshops, Peer Reviewing, Publication Ethics, role of the private sector and information technology. Scanning the conference programme, he said, shows that all relevant issues associated with medical writing and publishing have been covered in the conference for which the organizers need to be commended. Pakistan, Prof. Kh.Saadiq Hussain said has been a late starter in the field of medical journalism and there are genuine reasons for that. To find an answer to this one has to go back nearly seventy years. Medial Journalism is a tightly woven teamwork between authors, reviewers, editors and their teams, publishers, health professionals and policy makers. Any weak link at any point in this chain is enough to disrupt the whole process, he remarked.
Many people do not know that when Pakistan came into existence not a single link in the entire chain mentioned above was in place. We had only one medical college in the entire country i.e. KEMC which was severely depleted to the tune of about 70% by the departure/migration of non-Muslim teachers, doctors, administrators, nurses, laboratory staff and even the students. Those of us remaining were overwhelmed by millions of refugees, starving, sick, wounded, and shattered physically and emotionally. In this scenario the pre eminent issue was “Survival” and not ”Research”. There were no authors, hence no reviewers or editors. I as a senior medical student was working as a doctor, a nurse, a lab assistant, a ward bearer, a refugee camp worker ( as the need arose) and of course a student. This was the only human component, the material and financial component was even worse. However, slowly and steadily with faith in Allah and confidence in ourselves, hard work and dedication, the scenario began to change. More medical colleges started in major cities and the country initially with skeleton staff, makeshift or no campuses, and poorly equipped. However, gradually as most of us who had gone abroad usually UK, returned with MRCP or FRCS, and highly qualified faculty became available, the hospitals and colleges were adequately staffed and equipped. In those days Membership or Fellowship was the only exams. Soon after passing those exams, one became stem cell of the profession capable of becoming a member of the medical teaching faculty, a researcher, an author, a medical administrator or health policy maker even though one had received no training what so ever in any of these spheres. I had been teaching for twenty years before I attended the First WHO sponsored workshop on medical education at Lahore. With the passage of time, adequate number of faculty personnel, qualified teachers, numerous medical colleges, we had plenty of ”authors” and would be ”reviewers”. Although we used to have conferences and also wrote articles and case reports for the college journals, we had tremendous difficulty in access to reference materials. For this we often had to approach the British Council library. Eventually it was visionaries and pioneers like Mr. Ayaz Mahmood and later many others including Major. Gen.Aslam, Mr. Shaukat Ali Jawaid and their colleagues who played a vital role in promoting medical journalism as an important subject in its own right.
Speaking about Research, Prof. Kh. Saadiq Hussain said that it was an undeniable fact that very little original research comes out of Pakistan in international journals, although research comprises the bulk of contents of journals. It is essential to identify the cause if we hope to correct the problem. Some of the reasons which Prof. Kh. Saadiq Hussain identified included lack of interest, lack of initiative or ability, lack of incentives, reward, lack of funding, inability to meet publishing criteria or all the above. Added to this is the lack of time due to complete involvement with the virus epidemic or rather pandemic CC which stands for Commercialization and Corruption. An in-depth study of the problem and its possible solution is the order of the day and must be tackled on an urgent basis, if we are to achieve our objective of promoting research and documentation.
Medical writing especially research articles have a specific format. It needs to be learnt and practiced to be accepted for publication. He suggested that training in medical writing should begin at undergraduate level to promote the “culture of documentation and research.” It is heartening to know that medical writing is already being practiced at some undergraduate medical institutions and in universities in Karachi and Peshawar. At the postgraduate level it is already mandatory but needs considerable improvement as about 50% of manuscripts do not satisfy the publication criteria. Research should have relevance to national issues and needs so that even policy makers can make use of results of medical research.
Workshops are an innovation in teaching technology which is extremely useful in converting passive listeners into active participants. Indeed they learn a lot but workshops are the means to an end not an end in themselves. Speaking in a lighter vein, Prof. Kh.Saadiq Hussain remarked that workshop is often treated like any other shop in town, when the shop closes, it is work as usual. He laid emphasis on getting feed back as to the results of such workshops. We conducted workshops for ten years regularly in King Edward Medical College but there was hardly any unit other than mine where simple changes like making and following check lists and OSCE and interactive lectures were routinely adopted in the bedside and ward teaching as well as lecture theaters. I even failed to convince Board of Studies in Punjab University to introduce only 25% MCQs in our final MBBS exams. He stressed the fact that all participants of any workshops must report back after a predetermined period of time in what way have they benefitted by the workshop in their routine work. Passing on the benefit to others, in this way we would be able to evaluate our own workshops usefulness.
Talking about Peer Reviewing Prof.Kh.Saadiq Hussain referred to the presentation by Dr.Jamshed Akhtar at the First National Conference on Medial Editing held in 2007 at Army Medical College wherein disappointing response of the reviewers was listed. It also emphasized the care in appointing reviewers to the extent that “we are still unclear what peer review actually does, and can its omission bring any change”. We need more workshops to train reviewers. Continuing Prof.Kh.Saadiq Hussain said that there are some universally accepted rules and regulations in medical publishing. Likewise in all professions there are black sheep who do not abide by the rules. The Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE UK) has laid down a code of conduct for authors, editors and publishers. It has listed as many as forty seven misdemeanors which can be committed and must be prevented and strictly penalized. The need to uphold professional ethics is much more even today than it ever has been, even institutions are not immune.
The mushroom growth of medical colleges will not make any significant impact on publications in the near future because most of the staff in these colleges is retired faculty of public sector institutions. We have been talking of poor writing habits in the past and if people did not write while in active service in youth, they are not likely to start after retirement. Information technology is here to stay and now it is “E everything” including e publications. It is about time that all undergraduate institutions include computer knowledge as an essential part of their curriculum. He concluded his speech by modifying a quotation from a distinguished medical editor Prof.Harvey reported by Mr.Shaukat Ali Jawaid Managing Editor of Pakistan Journal of Medical Sciences in one of his book “In general, the only people who love editors are their wives, husbands, children and parents” and Prof. Kh.Saadiq Hussain added to this list honest, dedicated, academicians.
Dr. Maqbool H. Jafary President of EMAME also briefly spoke on this occasion. Mr. Shaukat Ali Jawaid Secretary General of EMAME made a presentation highlighting the historical background of formation of EMAME and its activities, accomplishments so far besides showing glimpses from the First National Conference on Medical Editing held at Army Medical College Rawalpindi in 2007 as well as the EMMJ5 organized at CPSP Camps in Karachi in 2010. He also gave details of training courses organized by EMAME in collaboration with PAME at Karachi, Rawalpindi-Islamabad, Peshawar and Lahore besides workshops on medical writing at National University of Malaysia, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences as well as International conference on Medical Writing held at Dubai. Dr.Akhtar Sherin President PAME highlighted the activities of PAME during the last two years. He also announced that HEC has agreed to provide Turnitin software for screening of manuscripts for plagiarism to journals who are members of PAME for one year to begin with.
Earlier Prof. Maj. Gen.Muhammad Aslam Vice Chancellor of UHS in his welcome address suggested that PAME should organize its biennial conference by rotation in all the provincial capitals of Pakistan, AJK, Gilgit and Baltistan as well as Federal Capital area. He offered the UHS Campus to organize WAME conference if it can be materialized. Pakistan, he further suggested, should take lead in establishing South Asian Association of Medical Editors (SAAMJE). He thanked chief guest, guest of honour for gracing the occasion with their presence. Dr. Jamshed Akhtar General Secretary of PAME presented vote of thanks.
The scientific programme of the conference was spread over four sessions in two days in which twenty seven papers were presented by various speakers. Prof. M.B.Rokni delivered Dr.Sarwar Zuberi memorial lecture entitled “The present situation of medical journalism in Iran” while Dr. Behrooz Astaneh delivered Prof. Manzar Saleem Memorial lecture on “COPE the aims and new Features”. Other important scientific highlights of the conference were a seminar on How to run a successful Biomedical journal in which speakers included Mr.Shaukat Ali Jawaid, Dr.Bilal Mirza, Dr.Saeeda Baig, Mr.Zafaruddin and Prof. Nasir Khokhar. Yet another important salient feature of the conference was the four simultaneous workshops i.e. Medical Writing which was conducted by Mr.Shaukat Ali Jawaid and Prof.Anwar Siddiqui, Journal Indexing conducted by Prof. M.B.Rokni from Iran, Publication Ethics conducted by Dr.Fatema Jawad, Dr. Behrooz Astaneh from Iran and Dr. Muhammad Irfan, Electronic publishing by Dr. Masood Jawaid and Dr.Akhtar Sherin.
Credit for organizing such a memorable conference goes to Prof. Maj.Gen.Muhammad Aslam Chairman of the organizing committee and his dedicated team at UHS including Pro VC Prof. Junaid Sarfraz Khan who were ever willing to help and assist when needed. The performance of the IT team was commendable as there was not a single disturbance throughout the conference. College of Physicians and Surgeons of Pakistan through its Regional Director at Lahore Prof. Khalid Masood Gondal also extended valuable help. Above all it was Health Research Advisory Board an entity established by PharmEvo a national pharmaceutical concern which is trend setter in ethical pharmaceutical marketing which was the major sponsor of this academic event. Mr. Haroon Qasim and Mr.Jamshed Ahmad Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer of PharmEvo took personal interest and deputed Dr.Asad Jafary as the project manager for this event. He along with his team of half a dozen senior executives which also included Shahzad Faisal worked in close collaboration with PAME for over three months to ensure that the conference becomes a successful and memorable event. Mr. Shaukat Ali Jawaid Chief Coordinator of PAME Second National Conference also introduced Health RAB at the conference dinner on April 27th 2014. Health RAB also distributed CDs on Research Guidelines among the participants. M/s Atco Laboratories another friend of PAME also extended valuable help and assistance. Mr. Saeed Allawala Managing Director of Atco has always been a great supporter of PAME and its activities. Mr. Akhtar and Mr.Farhan Raza from Atco Laboratories deserve to be mentioned for their help and assistance. Another friend of PAME Dr.Khawar Mehdi Director Medical Affairs at Getz Pharma also made significant contributions through financial assistance which all enabled the organizers to hold this conference in a befitting manner. Dr. Jamshed Akhtar Secretary General of PAME thanked all the friends of PAME in the inaugural session while Mr.Shaukat Ali Jawaid thanked all of them at the conference dinner recognizing their valuable contributions.


Prof. Mahmood Ali Malik former Principal of King Edward Medical College
was the chief guest at the PAME Second National Conference Dinner held
at UHS on April 26th 2014. Picture shows Prof. M. Aslam VC UHS who
was also Chairman of the organizing committee presenting a 
mementoe to Prof.Mahmood Ali Malik on this occasion.


Dr. Fatema Jawad, Prof.M. Akbar Chaudhry and Dr. Jamshed Akhtar
chairing the first scientific session during the PAME Second
National Conference 2014 held at UHS on April 26-27th 2014.


Prof. Khalid Masood Gondal Director CPSP Regional Centre Lahore
along with Dr.Behrooz Astaneh from Iran and Dr.M. Irfan chairing one
of the sessions during the PAME Second National Conference
2014 held at UHS on April 26-27th 2014.


Members of PAME Executive and senior faculty members of UHS photographed soon after the inaugural
session along with Mr. Justice Amir Raza Khan and Prof. Kh. Saadiq Hussain who were the Chief
Guest and Guest of Honour respectively at the PAME Second National Conference
2014 held at UHS on April 26-27th 2014.


Prof. Mahmood Ali Malik along with Prof. M. Aslam VC UHS presenting mementoes to
Prof. M. B. Rokni and Dr. Behrooz Astaneh the two invited guest speakers at the
PAME Second National Conference 2014 held at UHS recently at the
conference Dinner on April 26th 2014.


All rights of Biomedica have now been acquired by University of Health Sciences
after completing the legal formalities. It will henceforth be the official journal
of UHS. It was formally launched at the PAME Second National Conference
Dinner on April 26th 2014. Picture taken on the occasion shows Prof. A. H.
Nagi and Prof. I. A. Naveed formally presenting the copies of Biomedica to
Prof. Maj. Gen. M. Aslam and Prof. Junaid Sarfraz Khan VC and
Pro VC of UHS respectively.


Prof. Junaid Sarfraz Khan Pro VC UHS and Prof. M.B. Rokni from Iran
chairing one of the scientific sessions during the PAME Second
National Conference held at UHS Lahore on April 26-27th 2014


Prof. Noshin Wasim Yousuf along with Prof. Nasir Khokhar chairing
one of the scientific sessions during the PAME Second
National Conference held at UHS Lahore last month.


Photograph taken during the concluding session of PAME Second National
Conference held at UHS Lahore on April 26-27th shows sitting on the
dais from ( L to R) Dr. Jamshed Akhtar General Secretary, Dr. Fatema Jawad
President, Dr. Akhtar Sherin Immediate Past President, Prof. Maj.Gen.
Mohamamd Aslam VC UHS and Chairman OC and
Prof. Nasir Khokhar President-elect of PAME




© Pakistan Association of Medical Editors [PAME]