Why Govt Not Utilizing Foreign Medical Graduates Amid COVID-19?

foreign medical graduates

The world has never been in the need of doctors and medical staff than it is now. Thousands of people worldwide in over 200 countries including Pakistan have succumbed to the deadly coronavirus and the toll is still increasing. Under such a situation, the status of more than 5,000 foreign graduate doctors in the country remains ambiguous as the government keeps on neglecting them.

The foreign graduate doctors went abroad for higher studies with an aim to be able to come back and serve the Pakistani nation. However, on their return, they had to do was wait.

On President Dr. Arif Alvi’s orders in October 2019, the Ministry of National Health Services (NHS) took over the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) building overnight. As the PMDC operations remain suspended, the candidates who had passed their MBBS (Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery) final year examinations recently have been in a quandary on how to get registered with the PMDC. Moreover, foreign graduates also couldn’t register themselves with the concerned authorities.

Not to forget, without getting registered with PMDC, the MBBS degree holders are unable to get jobs anywhere in the country. In the existing state of uncertainty, the local and foreign graduates have no other option but to wait for a response when their services can be well utilized amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

Foreign medical graduates demanding RMP

Pakistan based foreign graduates have also been demanding RMP (Registered Medical Practioner) status which is on hold due to the PMDC uncertain status. Every doctor has to register themselves after graduation, only then they can practice medicine. #GrantRMP and #RecruitInternationGraduates have been trending on social media as well.

In a telephonic interview with Parhlo, Dr. Hassan, who also graduated from Xinjiang Medical University in China, said, “I completed my five-year medicine degree from China and one-year house job in Pakistan, However, after completing the first step of the PMDC process, foreign graduates including me are not being allowed to move forward to get their RMP status.”

With a current coronavirus pandemic, hospitals are desperately in need of qualified doctors to cope with COVID-19.  Foreign graduates are ready to serve the nation in this difficult time if they get registered with the concerned medical authority in the country.

Countries worldwide have been taking critical steps to expand the physician workforce to meet the increasing demands during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Americal Medical Association has also called for opening visa processing at embassies and consulates worldwide for physicians seeking to join US residency programs.

However, in Pakistan, instead of utilizing young doctors, the government is creating a ‘Corona Tiger Force‘.

Here’s what Pakistani fresh doctors are demanding from the government


PMDC current status

On Monday, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) has directed the federal government to immediately restore the PMDC. The court also declared the federal government’s decision to dissolve the PMDC null and void.

Reportedly, PMDC had opened and the registrar is allowed to sit in his office. The IHC judge Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani told the registrar that he could approve new registration of doctors which were still pending. Justice Kayani ordered the registrar to sit in his office with minimum staff during coronavirus pandemic.

Hopefully, with the PMDC restored, the local and foreign graduates will also get their registration done soon so that they can also serve the nation in coming out of the virus crisis.


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