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​Specialist doctors set to serve Afghanistan

​National, skilled medical professionals will enhance high quality care in Afghanistan. 

March 12, 2016

Dr Firozuddin Firoz and Dr Farhat Abbas awarding certificates of specialization to graduate doctors.

​Press Release: The first six specialist doctors to graduate from the French Medical Institute for Children’s Postgraduate Medical Education Programme have been awarded certificates of specialization today by Dr Ferozuddin Feroz, Minister of Public Health and the Professor Farhat Abbas, Dean of Aga Khan University Medical College at a PGME Graduation Ceremony. The funding of PGME programme is provided by the Government of Canada.

The graduates, three each in paediatric medicine and paediatric surgery, underwent four years of rigorous specialized training through a programme accredited by Afghanistan’s Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) and the Aga Khan University’s Postgraduate Medical Education Department. 

Dr Ferozuddin Feroz applauded the initiative: “Afghanistan has just 2 doctors for every 10,000 people and a serious shortage of medical specialists,” he said. “We support initiatives that can help us increase the number of medical and surgical specialists in the country and appreciate the assistance provided by the Aga Khan University for this programme.”

Mr Lee Hilling Chairman Provisional Operating Committee welcomed the guests to the graduation ceremony and congratulated the graduates on their remarkable achievement. 

FMIC began providing advanced education to doctors in April 2012 as a way of building and strengthening the local healthcare system. Besides clinical training in Kabul, residents had to go through a three-month rotation at the Aga Khan University Hospital in Karachi, with exposure to advanced techniques and complex cases with multiple complications. 

In commending the graduates for their hard work, Mrs Nurjehan Mawani, the AKDN Diplomatic Representative acknowledged the important support for the PGME Programme provided by the Government of Canada, and indeed of all the partners of FMIC.  She also thanked the Ministry of Public Health for its ongoing support and collaboration. She added: "As the Programme expands, its reach will expand. We hope to see more and more women residents joining the programme; the geographical reach will enlarge bringing in residents from more provinces; and the number of disciplines will increase. On average, the Programme expects to graduate 20-25 residents each year - across 10 disciplines."

Mr Philippe Merlin Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of France congratulated the graduating residents and assured continued support of the Government of France in improving healthcare and health human resource development in Afghanistan. 

For paediatric surgery graduate Dr Ahmad Jawed Salimi, from the Maidanwardak Province, this was a novel experience. “I feel we received far better training at FMIC than at other residency 

programmes in the country. During these four years, we also benefited from exposure to international trainers.”

Dr Jalil Ahmad Sistani, a paediatric medicine resident from Nimroz Province, felt that as a resident he “gained lots of experience from the faculty, other FMIC doctors and staff. Over the past four years, I have grown both professionally as well as in other aspects of life.”

PGME residencies are now offered in five more disciplines – anaesthesiology, cardiology, orthopaedics, pathology and radiology – with 49 doctors including five women under training. By 2020, the Programme is expected to have 96 residents on board at any given time and to graduate 20 specialists annually. 

"You are doctors, surgeons in Kabul, I am a surgeon in Paris, we are all bound by the same oath of Hippocrate, in the same respect we have to our patients. This universality that knows no frontiers, make the beauty of our profession." added Dr Eric Cheysson, President of the French NGO La Chaine de l’Espoir, in the concluding address.

The event was attended by Dr Homayon Qayoumi, Chief Advisor, infrastructure, Human Capital and Technology, Islamic Republic of Afghanistan; Dr Farida Mommand, Minister of Higher Education; other government officials; representatives of Canadian and French Embassy; AKDN agency heads, civil society and media.