KARACHI  -    Pakistan has left India behind in field of research and now stands besides China in progress towards research technology.

Former minister for science and technology and founding chairman of the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan (HEC) Prof Dr Attaur Rahman revealed the fact at an international conference on “Endorsing Health Science Research” held here at Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan Auditorium, Ojha Campus of the Dow University of Health Sciences.

The DUHC in collaboration with World Health Organisation organised the conference.

Dr Rehman informed that after the field of research has witnessed a significant boost after the establishment of HEC. “India was advancing in this field in 2001 but we were getting prepared for the high flight that time and now we have left India far behind and we stand besides China in progressing towards research technology,” he pointed out, adding that the budget allocated for science and research has been raised from Rs1 million to Rs20 million. “We need to enhance our primary healthcare facilities,” he stressed, adding that in addition to the use of purified water, awareness should be created among the people to use pure water on their own due to absence of infrastructure.  The conference was also addressed by DUHS Vice Chancellor Prof Mohammad Saeed Quraishy, Dr Faizanul Haq from World Health Organisation, Dr Obaid Ali from Ministry of Health and Dr Sadaf Ahmed from Advance Education Institute and Research. The conference was attended by DUHS Pro-Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Zarnaz Wahid, Prof Zeba Haq, Prof Shabana Urooj Kazmi, Prof Mohammad Imran and Prof Shamim Qureshi.

He said that Pakistan needs to spend more on private research sector as the countries which spend more on private sector can be seen progressing towards development. “China spends 60 percent on its private research sector and country like Singapore with 5.5 million population is exporting approximately 330 billion dollars due to which GDP of Singapore is more than the Great Britain which was in fact a colony of the latter in the older times,” he argued.

Dr Atta regretted that Pakistan only focuses on the exports of natural and some industrial items while it can trade very well by exporting sciences and technological items. “We have been at a loss by ignoring science and technology. In Korea, the status of Minister of Science and education is the same as that of Deputy Prime Minister. The Minister of Science and Economic Affairs is also given the same status in Austria,” he asserted.

The position where we stand in the field of Science and technology is known to everyone. We have spent 300 million dollar on 27km orange train while science and technology has been allocated a budget of Rs1 million only. He added that China has been sending its students abroad to acquire knowledge and education since 1978 and the number of students increased 2.1 million in 2015 from which more than 74 percent students came back to contribute in the development of their own country. He said that we as a nation should correct our direction. With the help of science and technology, even the blind is able to see and deaf can hear. We can also work in the field and progress in agriculture to trade and get benefit.

The Vice chancellor Prof. Mohammad Saeed Quraishy said in his welcome address that the slogan “Health for everyone and everywhere” is itself much attractive and the conference will prove to increase and enhance the knowledge of the participants. Medical practitioners should remain up to date with the advancements in medical sciences in order to coup up with the latest. He said that by establishing collaboration among medical education and healthcare sector, we can create an ease of the provision of facilities to the local public. He said that the use of antibiotic tablets is discouraged worldwide; however, there is an intensive use of antibiotics in Pakistan.

Sindh Healthcare Commission Chairman Prof Tipu Sultan said that Pakistan should work on increasing the annual budget being spent on health. “We are currently spending 0.6 percent of our total GDP on health. A city of 25 million population is being provided healthcare service which includes only 32,000 beds including that of all private and government hospitals and the number remains same 10 years ago,” he lamented.