Monday, May 13, 2019

Policymakers commemorate breakthrough year for nursing, midwifery

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The government of Pakistan has designated 2019 as the year of nursing and is working to enhance the role and voices of nurses and midwives in health policymaking, in recognition of the vital part they play in promoting universal healthcare and in defending women’s rights, the speakers at Aga Khan University’s School of Nursing and Midwifery (SONAM) observed.

The school brought together policymakers, senior academics and nursing leaders at an event to celebrate International Nurses Day and the International Day of the Midwife. 

In a message submitted ahead of the event, Sindh Minister for Health and Population Dr Azra Pechuho said: “The government is taking necessary steps to recognize nurses as equal partners in the healthcare system.” 

The provincial minister noted that nurses and midwives are already playing their part in providing quality healthcare to communities across the country and called on stakeholders to encourage and facilitate efforts to deepen their impact on the healthcare system.

The learned speakers at the event discussed the launch of new initiatives following President Dr Arif Alvi’s declaration and in light of Pakistan joining the global Nursing Now initiative. 

In his keynote speech, Shabbir Hussain, Director General Nursing for Sindh, highlighted the crucial partnership between nursing schools, hospitals and regulatory bodies in Pakistan in raising the image, status and role of nurses. 

“Nursing is emerging as one of the best professions in the healthcare sector and we are collectively making efforts to improve working conditions for our nurses and midwives to ensure that they can continue to provide quality healthcare services,” he said. 

The speakers also noted that besides encouraging investment in the nursing workforce and recruiting more nurses into leadership roles, the focus has to shift to research, capacity building and the implementation of best-practice. 

Dr David Arthur, Dean of AKU’s School of Nursing and Midwifery, reckoned that nurses now have a variety of career opportunities open to them. “Today’s nurses are seen as educators, researchers and counsellors in addition to working in different healthcare settings. They are also seeking specialization within nursing in various clinical areas, which further highlights their roles as front-line caregivers and strong patient advocates in all areas within a healthcare facility,” he remarked. 

Nurses have come a long way over the past few decades, are in a variety of leadership positions in the clinical and academic spheres, and stand ready to support the government’s efforts to achieve targets under the UN sustainable development goals, added Laila Cassum, a senior instructor at SONAM. 

The speeches were followed by a panel discussion on the challenges nurses and midwives face in public and private healthcare institutions. 

The panelists highlighted the need to increase the proportion of the healthcare budget allocated to the profession and called for more steps to recognize the contribution of nurses and midwives. 

Practicing nurses and midwives, students and nursing leaders from educational and healthcare institutions across Sindh were present at the event.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Commissioner mobilizes resources for Rabies-free Karachi

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The Commissioner Karachi, Iftikhar Shalwani, held a meeting with Dr Nasim Salahuddin, Head of Department of Infectious Diseases and a member of WHO Expert committee for Rabies and Rabies-free Karachi.

They discussed the dog bite cases, awareness among community and general public through their mobilization and their involvement at grass root level. 

Dr Nasim and his delegation members briefed the Commissioner about their organization s activities and its role in creating awareness at the community level. 

They informed about their ongoing mobilization campaign for the last 10 years towards dog bites cases, training of workers, potentialities of the community besides other things. 

The Commissioner appreciated the efforts of the organization and assured them of administration's cooperation and assistance at community level besides required coordination by allied agencies to further push up their campaign.

He immediately has established a Task Force headed by Additional Commissioner–II, Ghulam Murtaza Memon, and consisting of respective Assistant Commissioners/Revenue officers, respective agencies and Rabies free Karachi representatives to make efforts for achieving desired civil society mobilization, awareness and hold training sessions in the community with regard to pre and post treatment of dog bites cases, mass dog vaccination, animal birth control, field operation, through workshops, seminars and awareness on social media as well as other media to achieve the targets. 

He said that the organization and the Commissioner Office will work together after a mutual agreement and signing of a MoU draft of which will be submitted by them to be vetted by the Sindh Government's Law department which will be taken on board for further expansion of operation. 

The Commissioner Karachi directed the DMCs that in order to train and involve the staff of allied agencies to spare and train the sanitary workers and others staff in cooperation with the organization. It was informed that during the period 2009 to 2018 some 112 cases of dog bites were treated at Indus Hospital and Jinnah Hospital free of cost.

Price control drive in full swing in Karachi

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

 All the deputy commissioners, on the directives of Commissioner Karachi, Iftikhar Shalwani, have started price control drive taking stern action against the profiteers.

The deputy commissioners have formed special teams comprising of assistant commissioners and mukhtarkars to use their magisterial powers against profiteers, while the DCs were personally supervising the anti-profiteering drive. 

Meanwhile the Commissioner has advised the deputy commissioners not only to monitor the campaign but also review the performance of the teams formed by them and submit report there to the commissioner office for review of individual performance. 

The performance of Market Committee formed to fix the rates of fruits and vegetable in the morning at Sabzi Mandi on daily basis during the holy month was also reviewed. 

In this regard the Additional Commissioner Karachi-1, Ahmed Ali Qureshi, visited Sabzi Mondi early morning to monitor the process of fixation of prices of fruits and vegetables and later submitted his report to the Commissioner with his comments for improvement in the performance. 

The Commissioner asked the Market Committee to ensure that the prices fruits and vegetable are reasonably fixed during the holy month and transparency should be maintained with the objective to provide the relief to people.

Saturday, May 4, 2019

High-level meeting moves for price control, traffic streamlining in Ramazan

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The Sindh Minister for Agriculture and Supply and Prices, Muhammad Ismail Rahoo, alongwith Commissioner Karachi, Iftikhar Shalwani, held a high level joint meeting regarding control price check of essential commodities and other goods items during holy month of Ramzaan at the Commissioner office on May 2. 

The Deputy Commissioners, Salahuddin (Karachi South), Ali Ahmed Siddiqui (Karachi East), Zahid Memon (Karachi West) and Javed Abbasi (Karachi Malir) attended the meeting along with Abbas Memon (ADC Karachi Korangi) and other senior officers of the Bureau of Supply and Prices and related departments. 

The Sindh Minister pointed out that the painting and distribution of price lists was the responsibility of Market Committee but all FCs and the Bureau of Supply were their support to MC during the holy month, they all should work together for maximum relief are being provided to common people through distribution, display and awareness of general public at all big markets, super marts, and other shops. 

He stated that media will also be taken on board for maximum publicize price lists monitoring and inspections of all sites where complaints of any sort regarding high and non affordable things will be dealt with heavy fines and resolve the grievances of common people. 

The Minister has directed that officers concerned should regular visits and monitor the issues of prices etc in holy month balance the supply and demand if the goods according to schedule prices for maximum relief shown to people by the government and its functionaries. 

Commissioner Karachi, Iftikhar Shalwani, thanked the Minister Agriculture for holding such important meeting over prices in holy month with respective departments and agencies to provide relief at grassroots level. 

He said that control rooms have already been setup in all DC offices and, through his liaison office, approached all concerned and monitor the activities in the holy month. 

He has also sought details of all departments concerned and agencies steps and progress of implementation prior to the holy month, having directed traffic police to take steps for smooth flow of traffic during Iftar time in particular. 

He further directed the all DCs to provide relief to general public in order to maintain sanctity of holy month as compared to the past. 

Traffic police informed that more than 1,000 personnel at seven centres would be deployed to streamline traffic's flow in the city during the holy month while additional water will be made available for people by the Karachi Water & Sewerage Board (KWSB) and 22,700 gallon water will be at disposal on requisition of all DCs and others to cater the needs. 

Prices lists will be displayed by all social, print and electronic media on daily basis for awareness of general public.

National Quit Smoking Day on 1st Ramazan

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services) 

The various health professionals’ organizations have voiced their concerns on the hazards of smoking cigarettes, which reportedly bring out the death of 166,000 people every year in Pakistan, on the eve of the National Quit Smoking Day to be observed on the upcoming first day of Ramazan. 

They have thrown light on the devastating tobacco epidemic rampant in the country and emphasized that the holy month of Ramadan provided a golden opportunity for people to quit smoking. 

“Cigarettes are killers that travel in packs. Tobacco consumption is the leading preventable cause of death, causing seven million deaths per year worldwide. Moreover, this death toll is expected to rise to 10 million per year by the year 2025 if the tobacco epidemic continues uncurbed. The horrifying impact of tobacco use in Pakistan is made apparent by the fact that smoking killed 166,000 Pakistanis in 2018 alone,” they warned. 

Prof Javaid Khan of the Aga Khan University (AKU) and Chair of the National Alliance for Tobacco Control, speaking at the Karachi Press Club, informed that every year, 1st Ramazan is commemorated all over the Muslim World as Quit Tobacco Day. 

“Ramazan presents a unique opportunity for Muslims to adopt a healthy lifestyle and quit tobacco use. Each puff of tobacco smoke is made up of thousands of chemicals, including at least 70 known to cause cancer. Tobacco kills half of those who use it, with its victims dying, on average, 15 to 20 years prematurely,” he stated. 

Prof Javaid Khan also urged religious scholars of the country to use this holy month to disseminate information to the public about the hazards associated with tobacco use. 

Dr Qaisar Sajjad, Head and Neck Surgeon and Secretary General, Pakistan Medical Association (PMA), added that smokeless tobacco in the form of Gutka, Naswar and manipuri was responsible for 90% of head and neck cancers in the country. 

Advising the government to increase the taxation on tobacco products, he regretted the delay in introduction of Sin Tax on cigarettes as announced by the Health Minister last year.

ZAB E-Fest 2019 unfolds creativity, innovation

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

ZAB E-Fest 2019, an annual inter-university engineering competition, organized jointly by the faculties of computer sciences and mechatronics engineering of Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Institute of Science and Technology (SZABIST), Karachi, was inaugurated by Engr Muhammed Shafique, Vice-Chairman (Sindh), Pakistan Engineering Council (PEC).

Speaking on the occasion, Engr Shafique appreciated that students from different universities from all over Karachi who were participating in this project competition. 

“In this modern age of technology advancement, challenges for engineering education were growing at the same pace,” the chief guest pointed out and added that the students needed to equip themselves with the latest and up-to-date technological knowledge, skills and hands on experience. 

He said it was inspiring for the students that their projects will be evaluated by the industry and academic professionals.

According to him bridging the gap between industry and academia was the need of the present time as both segments desired to fill the gap by exchanging the ideas and experience among each other. 

He hoped that the projects displayed in this event will be very eye-catching for the people either to solve their problems or to improve their systems 

He appreciated the efforts of SZABIST in providing superior and high quality education to the students with more progressive, state of the art and value added methods. 

Earlier, Dr Altaf Mukati, Vice-President Academics presented the welcome address and highlighting the objectives of ZAB E-Fest 2019 project exhibition.

On the occasion, Shahnaz Wazir Ali, President, SZABIST presented souvenir to chief guest, Engr Muhammed Shafique. 

Among others, the event was attended by Prof Dr Imran Amin, head of computer science department, members of the faculty and a large number of students. 

ZAB E-Fest has been launched with the cherished goals to inspire, motivate and produce a change. It endeavors to provide a platform for the youth to showcase their talents and skills in fierce competitions, displaying cutting edge technology and presenting it deliberately from all over.

With an aim to reach the goal of an ideal world and to provide know how and innovation of technology to everyone, each year the organizers take up initiatives that inspire dedicated and hardworking participant from all ages and walks of life, to come together and put their idea into reality.