The Senate Standing Committee on National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination on Thursday urged to delay the MDCAT exams by at least 2 months, whether to be conducted provincially or federally. The Chairman Committee maintained that the exams should also be conducted as per the PMDC Bill, which is yet to be passed. He said that since the bill now is to be passed eventually, we support the government in the larger interest of the students. He said that there is no point in impeding the process and keeping the students in an uncertain position. Senator Bahramand Khan Tangi said that students are already suffering from psychological issues due to Corona first and now by the floods. Senator Rubina Khalid said that the students are in no position to appear in the exams anytime soon. The committee urged the Ministry to take appropriate steps to ease the pain of the students of KPK and Balochistan affected by floods. The Special Secretary M/o NHSR&C informed that the exams for the medical students of Balochistan and KPK has been delayed from 7th September to 14 September however further delay is expected by reason of floods and decision on the timeline of implementation of the PMDC Bill.
The Senate Standing Committee on National Health Services Regulations and Coordination on Thursday raise the question regarding the number of children below 10 years of age in Pakistan suffering from Anemia and in stunting, asked by Senator Seemee Ezdi. The Director (reg) Programs apprised the committee that Pakistan is one of the countries in the world with the highest burden of malnutrition. According to National Survey (NNS) 2018,one of the largest survey conducted internationally so far an estimated 40.2 pc children under the age of five years and stunned (Chronic Malnutrition) and nearly 17.7 pc are wasted ( Acute Malnutrition). He said that both these figures exceed WHO emergency threshold levels. NNS 2018 also revealed continued high rates on micronutrient deficiencies in children and women. A total of 54 pc children are anemic, 52 pc are vitamin A and 63 pc are vitamin D deficient. Similarly, 43 pc mothers are anemic, 27 pc suffer from vitamin A and 80 pc from vitamin D deficiency. The cumulative effect of lost manpower hours, heal expenses and lower productivity due to malnutrition is huge. The committee was further informed that currently there is no direct federal government funding for intervention addressing child malnutrition in federally administered areas. Ministry of NHSR&C, Government of Pakistan, has prepared a comprehensive PC-1 to address malnutrition among mothers and children with the name of "Tackling Malnutrition Induced Stunning in Pakistan" worth PKR 303.5 bn for 5 years 2021-26 which has been approved by the Planning Commission and is waiting release of funds. The ministry informed that Nutrition Wing Ministry of NHSR&C in collaboration with provincial Departments of Health, UN agencies and NGO partners are working on Stunting Prevention, Counselling & Supplementation for prevention, infant and young children feeding ( IYCF), Breast feeding promotion and protection, community management of Acute Malnutrition (CMAM) , Food Fortification through the National Fortification Alliance (NFA ), Adolescent Nutrition and Elimination of Trans -Fatty Acids (TFAs).
The Senate Panel also took up discussion on the application of Mr. Sahibzada Abu Zar, 2nd year Medical Student in Ukraine for accommodating Pakistan Medical Students who had suffered due to war and now seeking admission in Pakistan Medical Collages put forward by Senator Rubina Khalid. Through the application the Pakistani Ukrainian students requested exemption of National Equivalency Board Exam (NEB) on the basis of extraordinary situation. The PMC officials proposed that as a special case, the Medical & Dental Council has considered the subject matter and has approved below Policy to adjust Pakistani Students admitted in Ukrainian Medical Institution seeking transfer to necessarily undergo the NEB exam with certain exemption only for 2021-2022 session for students studying in Ukraine including that any student who qualifies NED 1st year exam or 2nd year Exam but has not qualified 1st year exams or 2nd year Exam from his parent foreign college will be allowed admission in 1st year or 2nd year in Pakistan. Students who qualifies NEB 1st year or 2nd year exam and has also qualified 1st year or 2nd year exam from his parent college will be allowed admission in 2nd or 3rd year in Pakistan. Exceptions also include that the transfer policy will be applicable to students from all Ukrainian colleges irrespective of the grades, The Education Manager also said that all admission will be subject to the availability of vacant seats and rules of the concerned universities. The committee directed the PMC to show grace and ease for the Russia-Ukrainian war affected students and make all updates and syllabi available on the website for timely correspondence.
Earlier in the meeting, The Prime University of Nursing Sciences Technology Islamabad Bill, 2022 presented by Senator Naseebullah Bazai and the Pakistan Pharmacy (Amendment) Bill, 2022 moved by Senator Mustaq Ahmed Khan was also taken up. The Advisor HEC briefed the committee on the proposed Prime University of Nursing Sciences Technology, Islamabad and apprised that the university submitted a feasibility report to HEC for grant of No objection Certificate (NOC) in light f the guidelines for the Establishment of a new University or an Institute of Higher Education, which is under the process of evaluation/initial scrutiny. He said that upon meeting all requirements and competition of all modalities, including physical inspection and issuance of HEC’s NOC, the charter of the proposed institute will be vetted as per federal universities ordinances (FUO), 2002 and forwarded to the Ministry of Federal Education & Professional Training for processing and enactment from the Nation Assembly of Pakistan. The Chairman Committee directed the Advisor HEC to expedite the process on corresponding the observations found in the initial scrutiny and give a final verdict whether or not the university fulfils the required criteria for NOC , he said that once this process is done other considerations will fall in place with accordance to the Ministry’s decision. The Pakistan Pharmacy (Amendment) Bill, 2022 was deferred since the stance of the Ministry on the same is awaited. Senator Mushtaq Ahmad Khan said that he has proposed amendments in the Bill which should also be included. The Chairman Committee said that the Bill is pending since long and we should not go in slumber on bills. He directed to expedite the matter.
The meeting was attended by Senators Fawzia Arshad, Sana Jamali, Rubina Khalid, Jam Mahtab Hussain Dahar, Bahramand Khan Tangi, Naseebullah Bazai, Mustaq Ahmed Khan and Senator Seemee Ezdi. Special Secy. of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination, DG HEC, Director Reg. Programs, Manager Education PMC and other senior officials of the attached departments were also in attendance.