How Pakistan’s healthcare is failing its female doctors | The Express Tribune
Breaking a career isn’t always a woman’s choice; instead, it was necessary because the system had completely failed. Shortcomings in Pakistan’s healthcare system prevent female doctors from practicing medicine despite numerous laws in the Constitution that protect women’s right to employment and equal opportunities.
Like India and Bangladesh, Pakistan is a country where the health sector has a higher proportion of female medical and dental graduates. The worrying thing, however, is that 70% of these graduates are not able to practice what they learn in medical school. Six out of 10 female graduates are unemployed in Pakistan and, according to a Labor Force survey, “compared to 64% of men, only 18% of women are employed”. Although most people express disappointment when they refer to women not practicing in the health care system, it should be remembered that this is not a voluntary choice.
Cultural norms and socioeconomic conditions in Pakistan make it difficult for women to access and continue their education, especially the costly matriculation process before medical universities. After admission, they must overcome obstacles such as transportation, purchasing expensive medical supplies such as books, exam preparation materials, and in my experience dental equipment to graduate smoothly. shall. Students receive little help and facilitation from parent institutes, especially in the public sector, due to underfunded healthcare system in Pakistan.
A recent graduate, Dr. Nada Ahmed, expressed her concern:
“I graduated in 2019 and after working from home I worked at a private clinic where I did an unpaid internship for many months. They ended up hiring me on a meager salary, but I still had to pay Rs 150 round-trip to the clinic out of my own pocket, leaving me with nothing beside me.
Unpaid recruitment is a real and widespread problem in the healthcare sector, so it is not uncommon to see doctors protesting in front of press clubs and government institutes.
Government and employer officials often consider such protests a nuisance. They are a familiar but largely ineffective part of every doctor’s career. Dr. Wajiha M Ali graduated from DOW University and served at Agha Khan University Hospital (AKUH) as Chief Resident