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Fata short of doctors despite having reserved seats in medical colleges

By Ashfaq Yusufzai 2017-06-14
PESHAWAR: Allocation of reserved seats for tribal students in medical colleges has not played a significant role in overcoming shortage of doctors in Fata, according to sources.

They said that tribal people went to hospitals in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa for treatment owing to shortage of doctors in their area despite the fact that enough seats were reserved for Fata students in different medical colleges.

`Everyyear,126students from Fata get admission in 11 medical collegesofKhyber Pakhtunkhwa, 28 in other provinces and five in Azad Jammu and Kashmir on quota system but there is no mechanism to send them back to tribal areas to serve their ownpeople,` said officials.

They said that Fata had 979 health facilities for an estimated 4.5 million population. However, 79 posts of specialist doctors had been lying vacant in Fata for the past few years, they added.

`There are a total of 110 posts of specialists in the entire Fata but tribal people have to travel to the adjacent Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to consultant specialist doctors,` said officials.

Sources said that the issue of shortage of doctors in Fata was brought time and again into the notice of authorities concerned but to no avail. They said that directorate of health Fata paid Rs12,000 scholarship per year to each of student. `We have been seekinglegislation for posting of those doctors, who get admission on reserved seats, in Fata hospitals. The government has allocated the reserved seats with a view to provide healthcare facilities to tribal people,` they said.

Sources said that students domiciled in Fata got admission on reserved seats but there was no mechanism to appoint them in tribal areas.

`Besides specialists, there is acute shortage of lady doctorsand nurses in Fata owing to which women patients suffer. In Fata, women patients don`t like to be seen by male doctors,` a senior physician told Dawn.

He said that most of the tribal students, who became doctors on Fata seats, completed FSc from Peshawar and other colleges of the province but they took advantage of their families living in Fata. As a result, seats reserved for the students there, couldn`t benefit local population, he added.

OfHcials said that at least 10,000 residents of Fata graduated from different medical colleges on reserved seats during the past 50 years but most of them were not willing to be posted in tribal areas.

`There are known specialists, who have become doctors by virtue of Fata domiciled but actually they are not residents of tribal areas,` said officials.

They said that many times government planned to allow admission on reserved seats to the students, who did FSc from colleges located in Fata, but people living outside tribal areas continued to get admission on reserved seats.

The quota-based admission tomedical colleges has also been depriving students of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa of their right to become doctors despite securing high marks in FSc.

Officials said that 11 medical colleges in the province had a total of 1,280 seats, of which 686 went to open merit while 594 were allotted to students on quota system and self-finance basis. They said that the health indicators hadn`t shown any improvement in Fata and backward areas of the province from where students with lesser marks got admission in the medical colleges.

Officials said that in early eighties, the government had allotted 30 per cent seats to women in medical colleges to produce more lady doctors and serve women patients effectively but the quota was abolished after 10 years when it authorities came to know that the quota was not benefitting women.

Besides Fata, five seats are reserved for Kohistan, six for Chitral, four for Dir Upper, four for Gadoon Amazai, three for Buner, two for Shangla, two for Kalam and two for Dir Lower in the medical colleges of the province.