KARACHI - Health Minister Sindh said that the federal parliament in its joint sitting passed the Pakistan Medical Commission bill which was voted in when most of the opposition members were not present in the house previously the same bill had been rejected by a majority vote in the senate.

She added that what was wrong with this bill was that under the 18th amendment which in the constitution recognised that health was a devolved subject had been circumvented by this piece of legislation.

Other than that this bill would be a disaster for smaller provinces as it allowed private sector medical colleges and universities to admit students irrespective of their domiciled province in Sindh approximately 5000 doctors graduate every year, this was still not enough for the Sindh province, 2500 doctors graduate from public sector universities which will be allowed to observe the provincial domicile policy. However a larger number of doctors graduate through our private universities approximately 2700 and as there is no domicile bar for private institutions, under this legislation most of the seats in sindh in the private sector will be filled by students from Punjab, these doctors on graduating will go back to serve in their home province causing a shortage of doctors in Sindh.

The federal government under this act also notified an MDCAT entrance exam for students joining medical universities and colleges. The tests will be designed by the federal government based on the federal curriculum when each province has its own boards and its own curriculum and this will put student’s appearing from the provinces at a disadvantage. Last year the closing percentage for exams was 93% in Punjab and Sindh was 73% a difference of 20% which was even higher for the other smaller provinces this would indicate that 20% of Sindh’s private sector seats and a higher number in the other smaller provinces will be filled by students from Punjab. This clearly violates the rights for opportunities for people of smaller provinces. Private sector colleges and universities are free to set their own fee structure which opens the opportunity for the elite to have access to professional education irrespective of merit and private institutions are here to do business.

The Bill clearly states under clause 18 subsection (2) that “No student will be awarded a medical or dental degree in Pakistan who has not passed the MDCAT prior to obtaining admission in a medical or dental college in Pakistan.”

Provided that such requirement shall be mandatory for all students who have enrolled in medical or dental under graduate programs in the year 2021 and thereafter” MDCAT to be held in October 2020 is not covered under this legislation which is passed by this order of the federation. “I strongly feel that PMDC was good enough regulatory body which did not need to be dissolved. This newly formed commission will only serve to impinge on the rights of the people of the provinces and will undermine the human resource availability in the smaller provinces to the detriment of the health of the people of these provinces. I speak as concerned citizen who views the hegemony of the federation with misgiving,” she added.

“My concern is not only for the people of Sindh but also Balochistan which will be worse off even than Sindh and KPK”, she concluded.