KARACHI   -  The first healthcare summit jointly organized by the Association of Physicians of Pakistani Descent of North America (APPNA) and Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplantation (SIUT) kicked off on Friday, discussing a wide range of issues of healthcare and related education and advocacy sectors.

APPNA is a network representing over 18,000 physicians and medical students of Pakistan origin who are engaged in medical practice and academics in the United States. They also represent the alumnus of various medical colleges of Pakistan.

The prime aim of holding a collaborative exercise with SIUT according to APPNA was aimed to establish linkage between the two health bodies and foster relations to achieve better goals of improved health delivery system and medical education in Pakistan. Some fifty medical practitioners have travelled to Pakistan from the US to attend the summit. They also held similar meetings earlier in Lahore and Islamabad as a part of their mission.

Inaugurating the summit meeting Director SIUT Prof Adib Rizvi greatly lauded the gesture on the part of overseas doctors of holding the meeting on the soils of their homeland and advised them that this healthy trend must continue in the years to come also. He reminded the visiting doctors that in the healthcare system of Pakistan "there is always a light at the end of the tunnel" and therefore their professional services are always needed for their improving the healthcare system.

Prof Rizvi asked the overseas doctors never to abandon your homeland as they owe a great deal towards their fellow countrymen.

In a detailed presentation, Director SIUT gave an overview of SIUT activities and the journey which is spanned over forty years. He also highlighted the philosophy which is the cornerstone of his institute based on an edifice to provide free treatment to all without any bias or without hurting patient's dignity.

He pointed out that in a country where 85% of the population is disfranchised and huge disparity exists very little choices left for poor population.

Prof Rizvi was of the opinion that it is the philosophy of SIUT which can truly mitigate the suffering of marginalized segment of the population. He said the philosophy introduced by SIUT can also be replicated elsewhere.

Earlier, President APPNA Dr Iqbal Zafar Hamid in his welcome address said his association is actively committed for capacity building of their professional colleagues and medical students living in Pakistan. Appreciating the collaboration with SIUT, he said it is going to be a milestone for future activities.

Dr Akhtar Hamidi Chair of First Global Healthcare Summit and his deputy Dr Razi Muhammad also spoke on the occasion.

Inaugural session was followed by a series of workshops where discussions were carried out by specialists. The topics which came up included hepatitis, stress disorder, stroke and patient safety. The workshops included basic life support, medical education, ultrasound guided procedure, neurology review for general practitioner, cosmetic dermatology and communication skills for physicians and students.