Why doctors want to leave Pakistan

Published: May 17, 2013
SHARES
Email

While politicians are busy fighting on TV talk shows, what everyone fails to recognise is that soon Pakistan will have no good doctors left.

I was born in a society where the field of medicine was considered a ‘sacred’ profession. A doctor was called “Doctor Sahib” out of mere respect. Reflecting on these societal views, I too, aspired to be a doctor.

Little did I know what I was in for..

After graduating from medical school, I joined the likes of many enthusiastic doctors and started working in a government hospital in Islamabad.

The job expected me to work over 80 hours per week and paid me nothing at all because all the paid seats (which were a mere handful) were occupied by doctors who were either well connected or were ready to exchange a bundle of notes for this so-called sacred title.

I had to spend two gruelling months in government offices, begging for a job that paid me absolutely nothing.

Just to explain the absurdity of this to you, consider this example. You’re building a house and a skilled worker comes in, offers to work for free and you still refuse to accept his service. Sounds ridiculous, right?

Unfortunately, this is the sad truth for Pakistani doctors.

We live is a country where 10,000 people are attended to by just one physician on average. According to the Higher Education Commission (HEC), 15,000 doctors leave the country every year.

Given these numbers, why does the government not make use of the many doctors that are available and only too willing to help?

It is not surprising that the US, UK and now the Middle East have become the biggest importers of doctors from Pakistan, with the latter now even recognising Pakistani doctors without any further examinations and giving them 20 times the amount of remuneration that they could have ever received in Pakistan.

While I was working in a hospital in Wales UK, a local patient inquired if my country was trying to get me to return to avail my service.

I was deeply saddened by this question and the first thing that popped to my mind was the famous saying of the former prime minister,

“Why don’t they leave?”

I think this answer should suffice.

Numerous protests by doctors are witnessed in various areas of the country. I have no opinion on what’s to be done in the triple-threat match between the government, the Young Doctors Association (YDA) and the media but I do know one thing; if you want a doctor to treat patients and put his heart into his work, he needs to be unimpeded of the financial constraints he faces.

An average doctor has two 32-hour shifts in a week (in all government hospitals) this is termed as a “call”.

Think about it and tabulate the numbers in your head; 32 hours on duty without a rest, twice in one week.

How do you expect someone to function for 32 hours without any sleep at all?

In England, doctors have a 12 hour working day (maximum) and a 48 hour working week (maximum). So are we being unfair in our rules and regulations? I think yes.

After this brief introduction into a doctor’s life in Pakistan, I’m sure you won’t blame me when I say I would much rather invest my time saving lives in a foreign country than in Pakistan. If you ask me,

“What have you given to your country?”

I won’t have an answer. Yet, the truth is that I really don’t care. I would rather work in an alien environment than struggle my way in Pakistan and receive no recognition or appreciation in return.

I paid for my own education; the government didn’t provide me with any compensation, so why should I do anything fot the government for free?

I speak on the behalf of all the other doctors here; none of us would stay back if we had an opportunity to leave. With American doctors leaving the Middle East and them recognising FCPS doctors, we have a chance that we may not want to miss out on.

While politicians are busy fighting on TV talk shows, what everyone fails to recognise is that soon Pakistan will have no good doctors left and they will only have themselves to blame.

Adios now; I must go and save a life… and get paid for it!

nadir.abbas

Dr Nadir Abbas

A medical graduate from Rawalpindi who is currently working in the leading private chain of hospitals, Spire Healthcare in Wales, UK.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Zubair Ali

    I love Pakistani doctors.Recommend

  • Dr.Magsi Inqilaabi PTI

    Second your thoughts doctor. recently graduated studying for USMLE. Pakistan is the LAST option for me inshaALLAH! will go to states for residency or at least the middle east. my advice to doctors mulling whether to work here or who have family issues: get out while you can. Thsi place not gonna get better. You have seen the results of the recent election. They cheated a national leader of his right to get a majority. what do u expect. have a nice day docs! and make sure You get paid for saving a life. We did not study 17 years and then some more to be Edhi sahb!Recommend

  • Alami Musafir

    The solution to this problem and countless others in Pakistan is to treat Pakistani politicians in the same way as Pakistani doctors are treated….pay them peanuts. Sadly its unlikely that they would be snapped up in Europe, North America or the Middle East (but I may be wrong, considering what happened to a certain Big Cheese). Another possibility is for doctors to charge politicians and other big shots much more than ordinary patients, and to then put the extra charge into a collective pool for less fortunate doctors.

    Its a shameful way to treat such an essential segment of society (doctors I mean).Recommend

  • Fahd

    “I paid for my own education; the government didn’t provide me with any compensation,”
    How much exactly did you pay and how much was the cost of your med school education?

    No offense as I myself come from a family of doctors but lets not distort facts!!!Recommend

  • Shahbaz Khan

    Good decision, no need to come back to Pakistan.Recommend

  • J

    We all were criticizing when doctors demonstrated in Punjab and Sindh…. But there are always two sides of the coin…….Our doctors are the best and we are good in many other professions. It’s just the system which is functioning wrong… When it`s Fixed everything will be great…Recommend

  • Randomstranger

    In Pakistan every Tom, Dick and Harry calls himself a “doctor”. In the countries like USA, Canada and Australia, it takes 10 years of hard-work to be labelled a “doctor”. In Pakistan, it only takes 5 years. Apart from that, engineers and scientists are also very productive members of the society and have way less opportunities than doctors, but I don’t see them whining and crying all the time. My point being, if you want to leave then leave, we are not stopping you. Peace.

    And please don’t censor my comment tribune, for God’s sake. Recommend

  • http://gujrat RAW is WAR

    USA has a ban on visa to Pakistani doctors right now.Recommend

  • dr assad

    A public service message to all students aspiring to be doctors, a lot of suffering for doctors in Pakistan with reward very late in life, when your hair turn grey and you have a family to feed.Recommend

  • Malik

    Very well written… totally agree! Recommend

  • Saman

    @Dr.Magsi Inqilaabi PTI:
    if you can get a us visa, pretty tough nowadaysRecommend

  • GhostRider

    @RAW is WAR:
    Really…as far as i know 3 dotors from my family moved to US…I guess you issued the notification in your dreams on behalf of the USRecommend

  • Captain29

    After reading all this articles about the situation of Pakistan I really feel sad for Pakistanis, specially the daily problems they are facing. At the same time, I really thank God that I was born in India. In India at present reverse brain gain is taking place where the Indians and Indians who borne abroad are returning back to the country, as the situation is much better in India than western countries, I mean the economic and job situation.Recommend

  • Muhammad

    Compared to any other graduate, doctors in Pakistan enjoy certainity to a greater extent to get a job whether a low paid or high paid. Given that Pakistan is a poor country, I do not understand why the doctors want to be paid in hundreds of thousands. I think the government is paying them higher than their true price in the country. These medical graduates should join the private sector and only then can they know their true price. The doctors in our country somehow think that they are making a big favor to this nation and, hence, deserve the highest salaries in the country. Dear Doctors, if you want to be paid more, Join some other profession like media, finance or start you own businesses and never think that the supply of doctors would diminish. After all we are living in a market economy. Recommend

  • Saman

    @GhostRider:
    The future seems to be grim, immigration reforms and such.Recommend

  • patient

    Doctors work harder than most and are held accountable at best. There cannot be any two opinions on that , however what this individual has so eloquently expressed is that the value being given to Pakistani doctors at present is far below the expectation level, in fact it is borderline inappropriate and the government should take steps to improve this current situation. I want good doctors to stay in the country, i want myself and my family to be attended by a Pakistani doctor who is competent and contended because my life is important to me. We all silently agree a Doctors March is in order, its only a matter of when Recommend

  • doom

    All this YDA hoopla over the past few years seems to be suggesting that subsidization of medical education should be finished off. Clearly the market has been greatly distorted. The supply of doctors far exceeds demand (demand in the economic sense – demand that has money to back it up). Recommend

  • Genius

    Waste not. Want not. We in this part of the world love to create waste. We all can see as to what sort of mammoth waste i.e. population have we created in our sub continent. Is it not horrifying? If we love to create troublemakers we will simply be asking for trouble. The trouble we are getting today as we can see that even the well educated people cannot get worthwhile jobs. It is gonna be worse and worse and worse until we will see the sense in the slogan of wisdom. It certainly is not any kind of Western propaganda it is for our own good. The slogan is ” Two is family and three is crowd.”
    Today as we can see that all the young ones have forfieted the right to produce even a single child. Things will not improve with the reckless attitude people have. Same goes on in the Phillipines. There the priests encourage people to produce large number of trouble makers.
    They need to learn from the Europeans who are also mainly Roman Catholics like the Filipinos. The Europeans know full well that they simply cannot afford to be as reckless as their priests profess them to be. They control bringing into their world troublemakers and very much keep out of trouble. This is not rocket science but simple arithmatic. Produce too many troublemakers, you will get too many trouble.Recommend

  • Waheed

    Thats all miss information and biased, I know how doctors especially international graduates are treated in North America. First off they have to invest 5-10 years working almost like an assistant with a physician while getting stipend only at the same time they have to accomplish challenging exams. After that they do get paid but the Royal Treatment and respect they get in Pakistan and luxurious earning of private practice is a dream unless they are over 50 years of age.Recommend

  • Dr.X

    @Muhammad
    this is absurd to say that Doctors don’t deserve to be highly paid. If they r doctors, they deserve to be paid. And If they are great doctors, they deserve to be paid in millions. Only Businessmen and journalists don’t deserve to get paid highly IN THIS POOR COUNTRY! You see what I did there?!
    I mean in the 3rd world country, we r ready to pay millions to an uneducated MNA/MPA and BA/MA pass Journalists(which require much less study hours than MBBS/Engineering) but we are not even ready to listen to the people who r actually saving lives. For us, a person who distorts facts on TV is more important than a person who is saving lives. One of the very few reasons, we r Progressing so much!!Recommend

  • Nobody

    @RAW is WAR:
    It has? Since when? A cousin of a close friend of mine (she’s a Pakistani citizen, born and bred, educated at Aga Khan) just got here after being granted a visa and is now studying for USMLE…? Recommend

  • Shah (Berlin)

    @Randomstranger:

    You have no idea wht you are talking about. 5 years or 10 years….Doctor is a Doctor…PERIOD…. and yes Engineers are also crying regarding the Market issue…and Scientists have almost no living in the society any more… ..many of the guys who join me in Masters in Germany worked years and were unable to cross Rs.35k …..
    I am an Engineer and I know my worth in Pakistan…although I am trying my best to move back but till now it looks awful…..
    I dont want to join a Government instuituion and start accepting Bribry. Its better for me to stay out and earn halal living.Recommend

  • Shah (Berlin)

    @Muhammad:

    A comment which reflects that you have no professional experience ……sorry for the harsh comment.
    If you study 24×7 you do want a reward in the end…
    An MBA graudate work 25% as hard as I did to get my Bachelors and he starts earning more than me its obviously not acceptable….
    The consiquences would be that many students will not join professions like Engineering and Medicine…
    In my whole class of Pre-Engineering in Pakistan only 5 became Engineers…..
    Dont you think you are loosing good talent????????
    and please and the end of the day every one wants to be paid….!!!!!!Recommend

  • Sarah

    i totally agree to all the words of this article. i m not a doc, but surely i have seen my sisters and brother struggle hard in this field. I have seen how hard a doc struggles and how tough it is for young docs and how less they get in return to the sacred job they are doing.
    “Call” is the worst form of work and really you docs should report it to human rights organization. concept of call is TOTALLY inhumane to say the least. work from 8am to 2pm the next day and again be there to serve the very next day and get peanuts in return.
    I would suggest that BIG docs should work this out with govt, they do hold the power but for some reason where young docs are united for a cause, i dont see senior docs do something for it.
    Slaute to all the docs for the work they doing.Recommend

  • Sarah

    @Randomstranger: don’t be so cynical. what he said is reality. you get 24k or so (now after all this fighting) for doing days in hospitals. he said it right. we as a nation treat professionals and specially docs as dirt. Recommend

  • Shah (Berlin)

    @doom:

    Supply or doctors had exceeded the demand…..?????

    In wht world are you living in …???

    You have doctors working 80 hours a week..why not hire 2 docs so taht each work 40 hours a week..

    yes they are doing sacred work but dont make them pay for being one…..

    the same goes for Engineers…first we want electricity but when you go there are no jobs for Engineers the Energy sector in Pakistan is completely dead…!!!
    Government is investing in application which are completely of no use as the handfull of Engineers have lack of experience…!!!!!Recommend

  • Syed Nadir Abbas

    I Paid around 25,00,000 RS for my Medicine College fee alone. @Fahd: Recommend

  • Syed Nadir Abbas

    It’s because scientists and engineers are not dealing with human lives directly and they don’t have to bare the blame of being inhuman and insensitive if they don’t perform their duties well. A Doctor deals with real lives, if he doesn’t perform well there’s a big chance it might end up in someone’s death. @Randomstranger: Recommend

  • Dr Nadir Abbas

    I haven’t seen any young Indian doctor working in hospitals I’ve worked in. Its because they’re being valued by their country. Most of Indian doctors I know prefer their country now because of good training availability and handsome pay structure. Definitely a good [email protected]:Recommend

  • Dr Nadir Abbas

    Brother, I finished my house job in 2011 and here I am in 2013 all settled in Wales, It took me hardly 02 years to get into the system. These are facts distorted by people, no profession guarantees equal success to all individuals.. They’re might be some stories about doctors finding it hard abroad but who wouldn’t leaving their family and friends behind. @Waheed:Recommend

  • Turbo Lover

    I agree to your points.Recommend

  • Nabeel

    I seconded the author’s view. Unfrotunately, he forgot to point out that his own doctor’s community are their worst enemies. Most of the paid doctor’s MS or other heads won’t be present during the odd hours and their odd hours start by 1pm. Hence, all the burden left on the shoulders of FCPS and MCPS residence.

    Apart from the incompetencies of the senior doctor most of the junior residents are negligble towards their duties you may find number of residents in NICH karachi from interior sindh or other part of the province just on the basis of their political connections where they use and abuse the previllege facilities.

    However, the salary of the doctors should be raise currently an MCPS resident is earning 25k per month and more than often they don’t get salary on time. By having good administrators number of working hours can eaisly be decrease if biasness formatted.

    Those, who have graduated from DMC, SMC, KingEdwards Larkana etc have studied from the money of tax payers. Yes, your job is very demanding it takes your heart out when an infant passed away while executing CPR.Recommend

  • http://www.twitter.com/sxahir Zahir

    kia naya pakistan banane ki zimedaari humari nahi ?Recommend

  • Faizan

    I paid for my own education; the government didn’t provide me with any compensation, so why should I do anything fot the government for free?

    Dil jeet lia bhaiRecommend

  • ADNAN

    YOU ARE RIGHT UP TO SOME EXTENT BUT
    CAN YOU PLEASE TELL US HOW MUCH DOES IT COSTS TO BECOME A DOCTOR IN UK ?
    BETWEEN 10 TO 20 MILLION PKRRecommend

  • Zee

    My both parents are doctors in a gov hosp in Karachi and mA after 15 years of working for the public sector, they are at a good income level. Its just the starting years of the medical profession in Pakistan that scares all the new graduates, as you get qualified with the passing time, there’s no way a respectable good institution will not take you! Recommend

  • Common Pakistani

    Well really i can understand the sentiment by the writer but have you ever thought what common man are going through in this society , Daily target killings , bombings , load shedding etc and plus all the crap from politicians . Let me ask you guys , do you seriously consider people like pakistani’s abroad , doctor or no doctor they will treat you like non issue , and you know this in your heart . God have provided you with chance to change the lives of people in pakistan and you guys are running away from your responsibility , trust me you will be asked for this on the day of judgement , i don’t have slightest of doubts about it . Recommend

  • Dr Nadir Abbas

    It does cost more but you’re paid the right amount afterwards. I.E Investment that you put in is returned. Also, they offer various flexible student loans which you could repay over a sufficient length of [email protected]: Recommend

  • Dr Nadir Abbas

    @Faizan:
    Its easier said brother. Try working a 32 hour shift in the month of June in any government hospital & that too without getting paid. I can bet you’ll change your views ! Recommend

  • Anita raja

    Unfortunately people who are British national are owned by the government and given student loans so it doesn’t matter now much that costs and doctors like us have to pay a minimum of 10 lakh rupees taking the plab exam to get the license to practice in the uk that’s another burden on our parent’s pockets ! The government of pakistan doesn’t give us any such compensation so u can’t compare the perks a British doctor has to the miseries a paki doctor has to live in ! There’s no comparison ! @ Adnan Recommend

  • Anita raja

    @ zee those times were different I’m sure ur parents didn’t have to pay a minimum of 15k to 25 k on electricity bills neither did they have to pay unlimited funds on their car’s petrol ! Times have changed ! Please try to understand the doctors are leaving the old consultants are doing their private practices young ones are fleeing ! Please save the country by not ignoring the situation Recommend

  • Anita raja

    @ Mohammad do u even know how proud are parents are when they see us graduate they have dreams that we will take care of them and our profession will guarantee prosperity to the family and do u have any idea how miserable we feel leeching on to their bloods till they are alive making yeh pay for our ‘survival’ the pay of a bus driver in government setup can touch upto 22k a month ! Please have mercy on This profession and it’s professionals I have left I work in Leeds uk ! But I’ll be honest I hardly know any of my colleagues who isn’t trying to get out the system is asphyxiating usRecommend

  • Anita raja

    By what means is a 9 to 5 job in an air conditioned room compared to 32 hours of sleepless duties where u are dealing with human life ? Rats no air conditioning blistering summer heat sometimes no water in the bathrooms ! And people still find it easy to ‘decide ‘ what we deserve and what we don’t ? Kamal hai ! Doctors have give up they don’t blog they don’t get into arguments they invest more get their licenses and pack their bags ! Thanks to the discrimination they have been facingRecommend

  • Asfaa Ashfaq

    @Muhammad:
    Its not that they deserve or want the highest salaries, point is, they should at least get in return an equivalent or near equivalent of the hardwork they’re putting in. if i ask you to go out and work for a month or even a week for someone for free, i’m sure you’ll find that displeasing.
    And consult a medical student about why he feels he deserves a tiny bit more than any other field, The 5 extremely difficult years of medical college, followed by the unpaid house-job, then he/she has a chance to get a paid job…
    we have a hard life so others wont regret giving their lives in our hands to save… doctors are important!Recommend

  • Anita raja

    @ asfaa ashfaq I wish the country would understand that Pakistani doctors just want a decent life not millions they want encouragement ! And now they have reached a point where they just want to leave ! But the golden question is y should pakistani doctors be deprived off their motherland … Because we can’t afford living here we are sick of sucking or families’ bloods forever ! Please try to understand the plight Recommend

  • Anita raja

    @ common Pakistani u r mistake they sponsor us invite us and don’t treat is low in anyway ! Over here doctor is a ‘title ‘ they know they need us ! We wanna help people of pakistan of our motherland but who will help us ? Our kids ? U think all these young doctors belong to the affluent class ? Trust me we have people from the most backward areas who are the only ray of hope in their families Recommend

  • Anita raja

    Please remember not every doctor is from the affluent class ! People from poor back grounds are doctors too and they are the only ray of hope in their family’s they have the right to live too don’t push them against the wall Recommend

  • doom

    @Shah (Berlin):
    That’s why I said demand in the economic sense. Also called “effective demand”. Where is the money for your proposal?

    You can’t hire twice as many doctors when there’s no money to pay even the ones who already have work. And rather than have an army of unemployed doctors or angry slave-doctors – why not pull subsidy money from universities, and pay existing doctors and maybe hire the existing unemployed doctors. And in the coming years produce fewer doctors – only as many as can be paid properly. Recommend

  • Ali S

    As a 3rd year MBBS student, I couldn’t agree more with you. I’m also paying for my own medical education and intend to practice abroad inshaaAllah once I graduate, so do most of my colleagues. Our medical education system is also partly to blame for the misuse of whatever little infrastructure there is for doctors. There should either be a requirement for students studying on government-funded seats to complete a few years in a government hospital before being granted a permanent degree, or most girls should be outright banned from government medical colleges (harsh, I know, but they waste taxpayers’ money to get themselves a husband and sit home with the title “Dr.”)Recommend

  • Dr. Soomro

    No reasonable, competent professional wants to stay and work in Pakistan. All of my friends who wish to lead a civil, respectable, and hard-working life feel that, be it doctors, bankers, accountants, etc. I am myself a medical doctor by profession and am currently working in the USA. I have worked in Karachi for about 3 years as well. The reasons for this are simple;
    1. financial compensation for professionals is not sufficient to lead a reasonable, respectable, and INDEPENDENT life. By independent I mean living on your own and to be able to pay your own basic living costs like bills, house rent, children education fees, etc.
    2. majority work spaces are not practically suitable for the worker eg. As a house officer in a major government administered tertiary hospital in Karachi, we did not have a reasonable living/doctors rooms, no basic kitchen set-up, no bathrooms. Not to mention the hygiene and maintenance of most government hospitals is pathetic. If you expect a worker to be present for over 24 hours and basic living facilities are not provided to him, he is bound to slack off and end up not taking interest in his work. As the saying goes “a happy worker is a good worker.”
    3. Employees are not valued and rarely treated as respectable human beings. Senior staff have a habit of treating their staff and employees as a personal slave. Sadly in Pakistan, although bonded labour has been abolished in principle, but the thinking remains alive. As a junior ward doctor, most of my senior doctors saw me a personal servant to run at their beck and call, addressed me in a condescending manner and expected me to work to the effect of relieving them of job obligations. There is a lack of camaraderie and rarely do senior doctors lead by example, inspiring juniors to strive and work hard.

    These are some of the realities of the work places of doctors. Our medical facilities are not technologically up-to date, quality clinical training is lacking, basic security in wards is deplorable (i was robbed twice in a span of 1 year within the hospital building and there was no hospital security in-charge to talk to regarding this), there are no health stipends, etc. Short story is that the VIP culture must end in places where basic facilities are provided to citizens and needs of the staff should be understood and provided for. In recent years, Politicians have made out doctors to seem like unreasonable, selfish & a callous community. Quite contrary to the fact, being one of the most well educated and liberal fraternities in the country I am proud to say we, medical doctors are some of the most hard working and patriotic Pakistanis, Mashallah and look forward to serving the masses of our beloved nation. However no man will ever work hard if not valued and looked after by the state and that is fact. Pakistan Paindabad.Recommend

  • Saqi

    Why doctors went on strike. Young doctors did not bother how many lives were lost due to their strike. They only want money. If money is your only need run mutton shop where you get thousands each day. There should be difference between butchers and doctors.

    In Government hospitals, no doctor is willing to work only wasting time. You can go to any goverenment hospital and see poor treatment of patients.

    In pakistan specialists are making ton of money each day and taking Rs 2000 to check one patient and they easily earn 50,000 each day. What else they want.

    Any way if you want money, dont come to this profession. Government pay huge subsidy on medical fees. No one can bear private education of medicane. Too much expensive. Recommend

  • Zara Malik

    dont u think saving lives should be a higher paying job than being a newscaster? its not about being a market economy, its how important and rewarding a certain job is. Doctors are at the top of the list in any economy and in any country because they are absolutely essential and indispensable, more so than any other profession by far. WHen u need a life to be saved, u dont look for engineers or accountants, do [email protected]: Recommend

  • Baba Ji

    It is not only doctors but every educated middle class young man is trying to escape and earn a respectable living abroad …. but I pray that with a “naya Pakistan” things change for better Inshallah …Recommend

  • Anita raja

    @ Zara I wish they would know how doctors work in hospitals without basic facilities as having water in the toilet ! But has a doctor in pak ever refused working ? We mostly endup doing our house jobs for free and they still ask us to bribe them as the author rightly says a skilled worker offers to work for free but u still refuse to take him ! But this free of cost service can’t go on for ever can it ? And if a doctor demands wages his/ Her love for pakistan is questioned ! Insanely absurd ridiculous and frustrating Recommend

  • Anita raja

    @ ali as bitter as it may sound it’s true I am a female doctor and most of my class’s brilliant female students didn’t even do their house jobs ! But that’s another issue altogether Recommend

  • Dr Nadir Abbas

    @Ali S:
    I agree with your sentiments but whether there should be a fixed number of seats for female students in medical colleges is another debate in itself. Many aspiring female class fellows are married and certainly not practising which is a shame really considering that they could be very good doctors and if they’ve put in the time and effort, one might put it to use but then there are domestic issues which a female doctor could explain better.
    On a lighter note, when I was doing my house job, there was a guy who used to sell CHALLI (Corn) and I asked him how much money he made in a month. It was almost half of what I was getting in my house job at that time. Times have changed, to be a successful doctor you now need backing of finances to sustain you post-graduation.
    Gone are the days when lower socio-economic class used to sell their animals and land to make their children a doctor and engineer dreaming that they’ll lives will turn 180 degrees after he’s graduated. Its a sad affair and there’s no light at the end of the tunnel. Rather, there might be a bullet train or metro bus coming from there which might kill the already battered doctor :) Recommend

  • Anita raja

    @ doom and let people die ? Is that even a solution ? U r trying to say that the growing population should have lesser doctors to attend them ? Kamal hai ! If this is ur economic solution then hats down to people who agree to it ! Nations that have developed Dont invest on army more than health care and education ! For heavensake despite all these medical schools the pt to doctor ratio has hit the lowest low ! Thankgod These doctors are in a profession where any country would hire them and give them respect else economists like u would crush us ! ( no offense) but I hope it was just a jokeRecommend

  • Anita raja

    @ BaBa ji If this is the current situation how come people question patriotism of Pakistani doctors ? Don’t they wanna excel ? Have a decent life atleast?Recommend

  • http://leenaaziz Leena Moin Aziz

    strong text
    Its a very pertinent comment on the situation , which seems to be in utter dire straits and that is just not the doctors but basically every profession is decimated in Pakistan , I am a cricket commentator , the only woman in Asia to have commented on international matches yet I have to go and BEG people with little intelligence to give me work and payment is maybe 5% of what an international commentators should get. I am thinking of filing an asylum to a cricket playing country to get somewhere close to an equal opportunity’ so Nadir I can understand your plight and frustration as I am someone who’s hacked it over 15 years of my life.
    I understand doctors , especially the young ones ; before becoming these hounds who make hoards of money working privately are in a lot of pain , I have seen the hours and years they young medicine students put in while they are in medical schools, where-by I dont grudge them when they make endless money as long as they do some PRO-BONO work.
    Recommend

  • Bubba

    So how much does it cost to go to Medical School in Pakistan? My daughter’s annual bill for med school exceeds $50,000 – doubt anyone would pay that kind of money to work for lousy wages anywhere in the World. With that said author’s points are valid – health care s/b a big deal in Pakistan and paying your doctors a living wage along with reasonable working hours s/b mandatory.Recommend

  • gp65

    @Anita raja: ,@Dr Nadir Abbas:

    So if a male doctor goes overseas or a female doctor sits at home, both people are not serving the country are thery? Why then the restriction only on the female doctors? Perhaps if the conditions improved, just as the male doctors may choose to stay behind, female doctors may choose to also work. Recommend

  • Asam Ishtiaq

    Left Pakistan in 1990 after graduating a year before. The jobs were only for the people who were politically connected. The only way you could progress your career if you were son or son -in-law of Professors. Attended a Public Service Comission interview just before leaving where the interviewers laughed at my ambitions and were very condescending to me. Left the country with 500 pounds and my MBBS degree and have achieved all my ambitions and goals with out Sfarish. Unless the Sfarish culture is replaced with Meritocracy and appropriate training and Career structures are in place the brain drain would continue. Recommend

  • Anita raja

    The worst thing is nobody Acknowledging that doctors are humans and have needs not some messiahs sent from above Recommend

  • KDP

    I paid for my own education; the government didn’t provide me with any compensation, so why should I do anything fot the government for free?

    Medical education is highly subsidized and more than 90% cost is funded by public funds. What you paid is peanuts compared to the total cost of making you a Doctor.Recommend

  • http://India Captain29

    here I am postng about the Ancient Indian medical system.

    Sushruta ‘the father of world Surgery’ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sushruta_Samhita

    World’s first medicine knowledge http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sushruta_Samhita

    Charaka “The Father of Medicine” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charaka

    Hope u guys will like th above mentioned links,as we have the shared history of subcontinent. Recommend

  • Anita raja

    @ raw is war ! No such ban on Pakistani visa’s for doctors don’t know about other visa !Recommend

  • Leila

    I fully agree with the article as a doctor myself. I have already left Pakistan for North America and I do not think I will come back. I used to work for a very rural area in Pakistan, with almost no amenities as a single doctor for a community of over 25000 people. The conditions were grueling and I would not have even accepted the position if it were not for the loving people there (who I still miss). It was not even a permanent position. No retirement, no insurance, no chance of professional growth. With a pay of just 300 dollars per month, no doctor ever wants to work there.

    As for the author, I believe, this situation has been brought on us by corrupt politicians who even abolished the ministry of health at a national level. Pakistan is the only country in the world today that does not have a national health ministry, and its national health sector now works under the Federal ministry of Industries and mining. But doctors are responsible too. For example the author who has accepted a position without pay. These politicians will push it even further down if doctors keep accepting such shameful treatment.

    At the end, the society as a whole has accepted the situation and do not want and perhaps even do not need a modern healthcare system. They have other worries now. The last Federal budget announced for national health research was Rs. 20 Lac (2 million ruppees). And that was in 2010. Since then they stopped even allocating an amount for research in health related fields. This only shows how much a society regards its health as important. So no worry there. Pakistan does not need its doctors anymore, and vice versa. Recommend

  • Saad K

    I worked at a govt. hospital after graduating but the situation was so hopeless. Dirty wards, lack of medicines, poor resources and house officers like me coming and going to work as they they please. My family had already moved to US so this experience prompted me to decide to move there too. Thanks to God that I did and am now practicing here in US and obviously the quality of life I have is much better than my fellow doctors back home. I was lucky to get the chance to come here but there were much more talented and brilliant doctors than me wh never get that chance and even if end up passing all the required exams, the visa issue comes in the way. Even getting residencies here n US nowadays is not as easy as it was 10 years back. People with excellent scores and resumes fail to get even one interview. My heart goes out to the doctors we are working in Pakistan under very difficult circumstances and with little or no compensation. Recommend

  • Salim

    The medical profession gets far too much respect than it deserves. Our populace is uneducated and half illiterate they understand the benefits of medicine but don’t appreciate pure mathematics or philosophy. Subjects which are in opinion require more raw intellect.Recommend

  • Muhammad

    For the point of view of a State, those people are more important who generate resources for the country. In fact, at this critical time of our country, we need to generate resources, need to capture the foreign markets and that is why investors are more important in modern economies. A computer science graduate (software programmer) setting in this same country work for foreign companies and inject money into this economy. Doctors just fleece those same poor people who work in the Middle East and bring money to this country. Some doctors, in our country, earn a lot and that is exactly the problem with medical profession in our country. House Job Officers just want to earn at the same level ignoring the factors related to Supply and Demand. Medical student still think that money is associated with becoming a doctor.

    Here in the USA where I am currently studying, people associated with finance and hedge Funds earn the most. Doctors do earn more than other PUBLIC sector employee but after a long period of struggle. And also they are required by law to keep their knowledge update and that means taking new courses in the medical school again and again with a certain frequency.

    @Zara Malik: Every thing has its money value, Saving Life also have. It is the market forces that would determine the value, not single person. Just saying that you are the best do not make you the best. Listen to the the society and economy what they say about you and how they value you. By the way I have no personal enmity towards the doctors. However, What I see that dcotors are living in a fool paradise. They love to see themselves superior. Market mechanism Baro Baro ko Seeda ker dayata hay. CheersRecommend

  • Ex Pakistani

    When a Journalist asked Nehru about brain drain from India. He replied, “It’s better to have brain drain than drain in the brain”. For sure, I don’t to see a Doctor or an Engineer looting people on Gun point because of joblessness.Recommend

  • Ahsan Aziz

    Not only Doctors, dear.Recommend

  • Muhammad

    For the point of view of a State, those people are more important who generate resources for the country. In fact, modern economies value those citizen/sector/employees that help them capture the foreign markets and that is why investors are more important in today’s world. A computer science graduate (software programmer) setting in this same country work for foreign companies and inject money into this economy. Doctors just fleece those same poor people who work in the Middle East and bring money to this country. Some doctors, in our country, earn a lot and that is exactly the problem with medical profession in our country. House Job officers just want to earn at that same level ignoring the factors related to Supply and Demand. Many of the college level students still think that money is associated with becoming a doctor.

    Here in the USA where I am currently studying, people associated with finance and hedge Funds earn the most. Doctors do earn more than other PUBLIC sector employee but after a long period of struggle. And also they are required by law to keep their knowledge update and that means taking new courses in the medical school again and again with a certain frequency. Recommend

  • Parvez

    Everyone should have the freedom to chose what he / she wants…………….its a very personal choice and that person has to live with that choice.Recommend

  • http://tribune.com p r sharma

    It is the economy( Improved) which is the panacea for most of the problems.Recommend

  • Dr Nabeel

    What happened to Dr Ali haider and number of other similar highly qualified physicians who left places like Ohio clinic to serve the masses? Does anyone even remember him now..?leave alone taking to roads to ask sharifs in the punjab the immediate arrest of the killers…Does those people deserve doctors like us who have not raised an eyebrow collectively on the day light murder of Dr ali haider and other physicians on the sectarian grounds? Recommend

  • Salman Ahmed

    You know who else pays for his/her education and isn’t provided compensation by the government?Engineering students…You know how many unemployed engineering graduates from some of Pakistan’s top universities are searching here and there for a job?And even if they get one,do you know whats the average starting pay for them? Rs.20000.

    I don’t see them whining or blaming their own country for their plight. At least you doctors are always in demand and get something at the end of every month.Be grateful .Every graduate works hard in his/her respective study area.Please don’t think you deserve some special treatment.Recommend

  • http://coveprint.com.au/about-cove-print.html Printers Adelaide

    If that is true the it is something to be alarmed about. Well, the truth is government should make an effort to protect their professional who have noble job like their Doctors because without them how can they secure the health of their people. It is just so sad that many professionals want to get out of their country and move to another country where they feel they can get a treatment they long for and of course the pay that they really want to receive. Recommend

  • Anita raja

    Only a doctor can understand the plight of a doctor in pakistan I salute @ Adam ishtiaq @ [email protected] dr somoro @ saad k for sharing their experiences with us ! No profession can be compared to the medical one @ Salman Ahmed for u it might b very easy to compare us to other professionals but we are forced to live lives that are way beneath human standards ! And for u this might be whining doctors but trust me we don’t whine we leave ! That’s what’s happening massive brain drain we study till we live we work till we die ! The kind of relentless effort we put in is priceless
    @ salim : medical profession gets more respect than it deserves ? U render me speechless ! There shall b a time when the elite will go abroad for Check ups while the poor will remain unattended . Why would the government care ? All our leaders have doctors waiting for them in USA and uk ? So I don’t blame the deaf ear that has been given to us !
    @ ex – Pakistani we would never loot people for joblessness we are educated the cream amongst us once again picks up their books starts preparing for international licensing exams clears them and leaves ! We r tired of demanding our rights ! I don’t think doctors feel the need to blog but nadir has done a great job
    @ dr nabeel the injustice being done to the doctor community can never be rectified and I assure u nobody will ever pay heed ! They will b killed and forgotten such is our tradition Recommend

  • Anita raja

    @ saqi Kamal hai ? Why did doctors go on strike ? Every professional has rights to put forward their demands ? Why are doctors not allowed to do that ! Please don’t blame the insensitivity of provincial governments towards doctors and their basic needs on us !
    U want us to beg on the roads !? To keep lending money for our children’s fees?

    It was the YDA that never closed down the emergency they attended to all patients that were critical ! Please stop this accusation game u will be left with nobody to attend u of Thai attitude doesn’t change we are being accepted abroad with plenty of respect we have a plan b to fall upon but what will happen to this country of u keep squeezing us ?

    We reject working in an environment where we have no beds , no proper drainage system , no water in toilets And above all no respect and no money ! We have the full right to go on strike being a democratic citizen of this country Recommend

  • Anita raja

    @ printers Adelaide the government doesn’t need to bother about us they don’t get treatment in pakistan anyway they would rather focus on their protocols and money bagging projects ! As nadir says ; a pt once asked him what his country is doing to get him back ans sadly the answer is nothing they are facilitating us leave by creating an environment where A normal human being couldn’t survive Recommend

  • Anita raja

    @ leena I totally agree with the begging part ! The disgrace we have to go through is unbelievable ! Clerks of hospitals asking for bribes ! The community accusing us of being killers when we go on strike ! So now we don’t even do that … We find a silent escape I think u should do the same Recommend

  • stevenson

    Pakistan is better off without the likes of physicians like you. As a physican myself, I can tell you that there are always a number of miserable professonals in evry field and they will be miserable no matter where they are and how much they make. The truth is that the majority of professionals in Third World countries would never have been able to get into university let alone medical school in the developed world so they should be thankful that they were able to get a degree in their home countries. They can easily write equivalency exams like all of the substandard medical students from the Carribean who can’t get into US medical schools but whose parents buy them a seat. Being thankless and complaining is a typical trait of third world peoples, so be prepared to complain more when you are abroad.Recommend

  • Anita raja

    @ alami musafir our politicians would never come to us for treatment they would always go abroad ! Plus what would they know about the problems of the public ? Most of them are feudals , business men etc from the higher upper class and they couldn’t care less for what the middle class of this country is going through Recommend

  • Anita raja

    @ parvez if u would read the article u would know how we got into this profession it was misleading perception of respect and honour little did we know that we will be hurled around tossed to and fro ! Expected to remain tight lipped and never demand our rights ! What have we asked ? Millions no we ask for a decent wage if that’s even equivalent to an abuse to people of this society then let there be brain drainRecommend

  • Racer

    Why haven’t you guys posted my comment? It took me quite a while to write it!Recommend

  • Anita raja

    @ dr magsi inquilabi pti the reality is none of us would wanna stay if we have a chance to be living in better conditions Recommend

  • Sajid

    “I paid for my own education; the government didn’t provide me with any compensation, so why should I do anything fot the government for free?”
    .
    Oh really, did you build your university? set up all the labs? purchase all the equipment? pay the salaries of all the faculty and staff?
    .
    The tuition fees you pay cover only a fraction of the cost of your education. Higher education is subsidized by the state (even in private universities) through grants (for land, construction, equipment) salaries/training for faculty and staff, subsidized power, tax exemptions etc.
    .
    Having said that, you still dont need to do anything for the gov or people for free unless you are motivated to do so. However should not forget the investment made by the gov and the people in contributing towards ones education, training and career.. and one should try to give back to society.Recommend

  • Dr waqar kazmi

    @Dr Nadir Abbas: hey hru?we were together for a short period in house job?remember?,,World is a global village,now i believe it.just surfing net when i came across your post.great post by the way…Recommend

  • Tooba

    Yes, it takes a smaller time frame to attain the Doctor title in Pakistan, but you cant jus highlight the easy part of Pakistan system and forget the hard ones. Other countries which you mentioned do not face the same competition as students in Pakistan do, neither are they deprived of top level resources in terms of books, teachers and technology. Engineers perform their work on machines, whereas scientists, to an extent, focus on theories and research, both of these professions you mentioned have a significant “room for error”. When an engineer makes a blunder, he jots his mistake down in a lesson learned and moves on, likewise, when a scientist makes a mistake he trashes his research and starts a new one. Whereas, on the contrary, Doctors “room for error” does not exist. A simple mistake can translate into critical condition or even death. The work performed by Doctors is on the human body, the stress associated with the jobs are unparallel so why should they be paid similar to a banker or an engineer. Doctors are not paid on productivity, but on accountability, no other profession has such high accountability associated with it. For a nation, deprived of clean environment, diseases are a norm, as a result the demand for Doctors is never-ending. Doctors are not an option, but a necessity for Pakistan. Ofcourse, we can just pack our bags and depart for better opportunity without making any complaints or nagging, but that’s not the point. We want to stay and serve our country, but at the same time we want to be respected and valued, hence the complaining. Not only does Pakistan, devalue, degrade our Doctors, but also demotivates them. All we, the doctors, as for us respect, pay us what we deserve, and nothing more.Recommend

  • Ayesha

    Good read and food for thought for many …Recommend

  • http://mysuccess-stories.com Dr Waqar

    I am a student at King Edward Medical University.

    Here in our university we really don’t see anyone who wants to stay in Pakistan after graduation everyone wants to go out and have a higher salary,

    So I think the main point here is salary and the scenario of Pakistan are not supported either.
    Personally I would like to go abroad for study only and would certainly like to come back here and give something back as well,Recommend

  • Anita raja

    @ dr Assad indeed all aspiring doctors need to know the reality associated to the field of medicine in pakistan !Recommend

  • Anita raja

    @ dr x spot on !!! Yes yes yes If illiterate thieves in the form of Mna/mpa can bag millions them why can’t Nobel professionals ! But if our society would be aware wouldn’t we rather be staying here than fleeing ?Recommend

  • Anita raja

    @ Stevenson u r mistaken in places like uk Pakistanis are amongst the top of the league ! And we by no means question our cApacity our capability and competency we are people who graduate in our home land And easily get posts in uk and USA by clearing our licensing exams and then attaining training posts ! For u this might be an empty complain for us it’s just mere respect that we want ! We don’t wanna die of Hunger because sadly our leaders with fake degrees live the lives of kings , tv personal who watch politicians fight bag millions we don’t want billions we want money so that we can survive ‘decently’ Recommend

  • DR Nadir

    Mr Stevenson, its easier said then done. People complain about their jobs everywhere, its nothing to do with developing or developed world. I can say this with utmost certainty that doctors in the third world countries like Pakistan and India are the best in the world much better then your developing countries doctors. This is why the US and UK are full of your so called “third world” doctors, they’ve achieved excellence in every field. They just under achieve because of their social circumstances. @stevenson: Recommend

  • DR Nadir

    I’m Good brother. How are you ? Mail me on [email protected] and I’ll add you on facebook. Thanks for the [email protected] waqar kazmi: Recommend

  • DR Nadir

    Well said, Exactly the point I was making. The whole infrastructure needs to change, the way the health system is working needs to completely reform otherwise it’s going to get worse and trust me, doctors see patients dying and it’s easier to blame the doctor for not providing medical care but what they fail to understand is that its the governments job to provide them with medicines and proper beds and facilities. Doctors just a mediator. Not a provider. @Tooba: Recommend

  • Irfan Bangash

    No matter what the profession is its the same story, the salary from abroad is 5-10 times higher then paid in PK, All profession people leave from Pakistan in a daily basis, being a doctor dosnt gives you the right to wear crowns of pride. If you work 80 hours a week then it was your choice and you choose this life for yourself. Leaving Pakistan is no big deal, what your asking is a communist idea where all doctors are hired.

    At the same point, there should be a Young Engineers Association, Young Accountants Association, Young Financiers Association, Young Administrative Staff Association, Young marketeers Association, and all departments that a government runs. Being a doctors your mouth drools at the foriegn $$ and so does for everyone else, you guys are just higher in the acceptance list cause other countries fail to produce doctors as much.Recommend

  • Anita raja

    @ irfan Bangash ! It’s funny how u fail to realise its not a fortune we are asking for we are merely asking the government to give us space enough that we don’t have to borrow money to make ends meet ! So that we can also lead a life of respect ! And I don’t believe any doctor wants to leave his / her country we face exile because we cannot survive here please go through comments of all the doctors so I have a better insight ! Your know how about a doctor’s life is embarrassingly less ! Our mouths don’t drool for $$$ ! We have the right to ask for a fee for our service … If u treat us like garbage then so let it be ! Luckily the world needs us if u don’t ! The shortage isn’t far awayRecommend