Owing to the huge brain drain which has further aggravated healthcare crisis, only one medical practitioner is available for every 1,971 people and one dental surgeon for every 21,420 people here in Pakistan, data reveals.

Most of the doctors prefer to get jobs in a foreign country like Saudi Arabia which has been hiring hundreds of doctors to facilitate its people. Similarly, Indonesia, Malaysia and Ireland are also hiring our doctors on hefty pays. The data excludes those who leave Pakistan in the name of specialisation. Despite the fact that we don’t have enough number of doctors to take care of the people, the government has allowed them to leave the country for their worldly pursuits.

Population of Pakistan consists of 187,041,883 people and it is 2.6 percent of the world’s total population, reveals data provided by the Population Welfare Department of Punjab. According to Pakistan Economic Survey 2009-2010, Pakistan will become fourth largest country in 2050 in terms of population.

According to the statistics provided by the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council, we have 56,278 registered medical practitioners in Punjab and Federal Area; 56,431 in Sindh, 16,628 in KPK, 3,989 in Balochistan and 2,561 in AJ&K. Similarly, we have 5,286 registered dental practitioners in Punjab & Federal Area, 3,731 in Sindh, 1,969 in KPK, 333 in Balochistan, 248 in AJ&K with 442 foreign nationals.

Another report claims that we have 15,285 medical practitioners in Punjab, 8,806 in Sindh, 4,081 in KPK, 1,032 in Balochistan, 683 in AJK whereas 92 foreigners are registered as specialists in Pakistan. Likewise, there are 477 dental surgeons in Punjab and federal area, 320 in Sindh, 216 in KPK, 38 in Balochistan, 33 in AJ&K and 4 foreigners. According to PMDC data, total number of doctors registered with the Ministry of Health since 1947 is 184,514. However, the ministry of health never determined the number of doctors who have either died, went abroad, or have joined civil service or serving in other professions, said a high official.

“According to an Internal Valid List, we have 52,318 male and 42, 589 MBBS doctors along with 3,478 male and 5,254 female dental surgeons and practitioners available for the people of Pakistan,” the high official said. “Here in Pakistan, we have only 94,907 specialist and MBBS practitioner and 8,732 dental surgeons as per the valid list.”

“There are 29,979 specialist doctors along with 1,088 dental surgeons. But, the voting list of PMDC unveils that we have only 983 specialist doctors and dental surgeons working in public or private sectors of Pakistan, which means that rest of the doctors or dentists have either died or left Pakistan,” he said.

When contacted, Minister of State for National Health Services Saira Afzal Tarar denied the statistics. “We surely have a mechanism at PMDC and it is priority of the government to keep things in line,” she said. On brain drain, the minister said, “The government has limited resources, that’s why professionals are leaving the country.”

PMDC Registrar Dr Raja Amjad Mehmood said, “Complete data of doctors who die during job in the health department is maintained but those who work privately or have gone abroad or died after their retirement or joined other services, we have no mechanism to find out.” PMDC Chief Public Relations Officer Hina Shaukat said that the PMDC would ascertain the number of doctors who are available for the people of Pakistan soon and take action against the quacks practicing in the name of deceased doctors and those have settled abroad.