A New ERA in Emergency Medicine in Pakistan

Abdus Salam Khan, MD FACP
April, 2018

Pakistan has turned another corner in its journey of Emergency Medicine. Our collective efforts to bring Emergency Medicine to forefront got a boost with creation of society to represent the Emergency Medicine in Pakistan.

When we talk about the efforts done in the field of Emergency Medicine, it used to be due to individual or institutional effects . We felt the need for a combined and collective voice for Emergency Medicine. Our efforts materialized in the form of PSEM (Pakistan Society Of EM).

The society like any other society will create a common platform to talk about every aspect of EM. This will serve the great purpose of uniting our energies to bring everyone to same page, and thus be very effective.

The society is open to all, and that means Doctors, Nurses, Paramedics, Technicians, Managers and all interested in bringing Emergency care in Pakistan to a decent level. In the background of plenty of work done by our colleagues, it is relatively easy to move forward, yet enormity of task requires right attitude and right decision making.

I still remember early days, when I joined Shifa Emergency Department in 2009 and came in touch with SEPP (Society Of Emergency Physicians Pakistan). At that time we were very few people, no recognized program for training and people in most Emergency Department were clueless regarding this specialty. Our small team was spearheaded by Dr. Junaid Razak. Agha Khan University had already started a residency training which was not recognized by CPSP. We started having meetings and the combined efforts resulted in the recognition of program.

Fast forward to 2018 and we have more than 10 supervisors, more than 50 trainees and two trainees passed FRCP EM exam and serving in Pakistan. We felt the need of society back than in 2005 and since then in some shape and form we tried to work under the banner of society, so that the efforts can be seen as one geared towards whole Pakistan. What we see in future is very promising expansion of Emergency Medicine filed in Pakistan. Increasing number of institutions for the training is expected and so will see increased number of trainees. With the activation of Society we will create links with international bodies like IFEM and RCEM. We also need to work on our level care provision and improve the quality. Society is expected to play role of a helper in all activities related to emergency care.

Working to emergency Department here in Pakistan for past 9 years, I feel energized to see formation of a body that is dedicated to Emergency Medicine.

This way people who are decision makers at all level can be brought into conversation regarding improving emergency care. We will work on defining level of care, competence, level of staffing including nurses and paramedics and also the pathway and procedure for the care delivery in all emergency settings. There are plenty of resources available and the best available resource is our human capital. Although untrained yet experienced enough that they should be given a fair chance of expanding their capability and competence and coming to the fold of emergency medicine. It would be a very cost effective way of improving emergency care quickly.

We are also experiencing a slow flux of physicians back to the country. These physicians have worked in the developed setups and attained the level of competence to develop and enhance the system here. Its a perfect timing to enhance our efforts and channelize it to have maximal impact.

We do understand the political situation of the country and instability that has various causes, yet we feel the extreme urge to quickly develop the emergency management system to provide basic emergency care for the vast majority of citizens without incurring huge cost to the system. This would happen by training human capital through training and teambuilding.

PSEM with its penetration in almost all provinces is in perfect position to spearhead this efforts through help from all our international partners and collaborators.

I can be reached at askhan65@yahoo.com.

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