Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to set up university for doctors, nurses
PESHAWAR, June 9: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has planned to establish University of Allied Medical Sciences (UAMS), the first of its kind in the province, to provide post-graduation education to doctors, nurses and paramedics in different disciplines of medical sciences, according to the relevant officials.
The officials have told Dawn that the concept paper on the UAMS establishment is likely to be dispatched to the chief minister next week after approval by the health minister.
“We have planned to integrate Peshawar Health Services Academy, Paraplegic Centre, Pakistan Institute of Prosthetic and Orthotic Sciences and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Medical Faculty into a composite body and develop allied medical services through updated curriculum for granting BSc courses to paramedics and nurses,” an official said.
He said the combination of these entities would lead to establishment of a unique university.
The officials said development of linkages among district level nursing and paramedical institutes would provide medical and nursing staff with skill development courses, which the province desperately needed to give rehabilitation services to the people losing limbs in war zone.
They said Pakistan Institute of Prosthetic and Orthotic Sciences was unable to cope with the number of people needing limbs, who had to wait for painfully long periods and the shortage of experts can only be fulfilled through production of trained people.The officials also said the lone Paraplegic Centre didn’t manage influx of patients and therefore, there was an urgent need to establish more such centres in the province, especially in violence-prone areas.
“We have to develop skills of support medical staff as paramedics and nurses are detrimental to a better health delivery system.
They assist doctors in hospitals and we need to have a university to upgrade their knowledge and skills,” an official said.
Officials said the health department had already been working on curriculum development for the proposed varsity, which would get the government’s approval because the required infrastructures existed and each of the four institutes had their own budgets.
They said the government had to bear nominal expenses for human resources to establish a central authority for integration of these institutes.
Currently, the private sector operates more than 50 paramedical institutes in the province but they, according to the officials, produce workforce, which doesn’t meet the market requirements.
“The market needs paramedics, who are trained,” an official said.
Officials said the said varsity was also needed to set standards for such institutes to produce good, trained staff.
“The new university will grant affiliation to the institutes, which have hospitals for practical training. In this way, we can produce paramedics and nurses, who specialise in pediatrics, neonatal, gynaecology, intensive and emergency care and would be able to attend to patients,” an official said.
According to the officials, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has 10,000 doctors, 9,000 paramedics and 6,000 nurses. There is only one doctor for 20,000 people, while the number of paramedics and nurses is even far less than that showing that the province needs to provide higher education to them.
They said the establishment of UAMS was part of the government’s plan to have four medical universities in the province. They added that the government had already begun sending nurses to Islamabad and Karachi for postgraduate courses on scholarships despite the fact that the province had got better infrastructure.Officials said other provinces would follow in the footsteps of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa when the university was established.
They said under the plan, the university would provide equal opportunities for in-services and fresh candidates in admission, while Khyber Medical University would continue offering training to nurses.
“We feel the university will cope with the increasing demand of nurses and paramedics in the province,” an official said.