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Civil Service Reforms–the move from hype-to-hope

Published in The News International on April 09, 2006: Civil service reforms need to be an integral part of social sector reform processes if sustainable solutions to currently existing issues within the ambit social sector service delivery are envisaged. Within this context, there seems to be some justification for the perception that civil service reforms may finally be part of a mainstream agenda in Pakistan. This is evidenced by the initiation of processes such as the creation of a Committee for Civil Service reforms, the establishment of a Civil Service Reform Unit in the Establishment Division, launching of the Professional Development Agenda and the more recent announcement of the reform package for introducing good governance in the country by the Ministry of Law and signaling the importance of this area of reform by soliciting help from the multilateral development agencies. However, given that this is not the first time efforts are underway in this area, tipping the balance from the hope-to-hype equation will depend on the manner in which a strategic approach prevails – both in intent and in...

Avian Flu – the short and long term contexts

Published in The News International on March 05, 2006: Given that diseases such as the Plague, SARS, HIV/AIDs and Avian Flu do not respect national boundaries, the news of Avian Flu in our immediate neighborhood, left a slim choice between treading the prevent-prepare-control options a week ago. However its detection on an NWFP farm yesterday, made choices much clearer. Ever since Avian Influenza (H7N3) hit Pakistan in 2003-04 and was subsequently curbed at source in the agriculture and health sector through implementation of animal and human health surveillance, disease control and mitigation measures, some level of gearing up for another outbreak had been witnessed. Evidenced by news and other forms of reporting, efforts included the establishment of surveillance laboratories equipped to diagnose bird flu; enhanced allocations for strengthening surveillance and emergency preparedness and clinical, serological, and virological surveillance in migratory birds from different parts of the country. It is hoped that these investments will pay off given the recent emergence of the virus in NWFP. However, the situation specific to Avian Flu and the earlier experience relating to the health...

Pakistan Medical and Dental Council – strategic imperatives

Published in The News International on February 08, 2006: Recent controversies around the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC), the efforts presently underway to break the resulting stalemate and more topically offered solutions now favoring a major overhaul highlight an opportunity to flag some fundamental questions about the role of this institution. Mandated with a normative and regulatory role within the ambit of the medical profession, PMDC is a statutory autonomous organization. The PMDC Ordinance of 1962 and the subsequent amendments introduced in 1967 and 73 provide a policy framework enabling it to set standards of medical education, register practitioners and accredit academic medical establishments. But is this all that needs to be within the PMDCs remit? Or should its role be broader given that this is the only body that regulates the medical profession? If considerations of protecting, promoting and maintaining the health and safety of the patients are brought to bear – as they should given that they are the cornerstones PMDC's code of ethics – perhaps there is a need for revisiting its scope. These bring...

Improving heart health in Europe.

Nishtar S. Improving heart health in Europe. Circulation 2006;113(4):f16 Download Attached file #...