July 26 - Aug 01, 2004





DR. TARIQ MEHMOOD, is currently working as the Medical Officer at the State Guest House. Graduated from Sindh Medical College (SMC) from where he was awarded the degree of MBBS in 1988, he also did specialization in Tuberculosis and Chest Diseases from Jinnah Post Graduate Medical Center in 1998. He also got through the Federal Public Service Commission in 1992 and served as the Health Officer in different departments including Pakistan Customs, Income Tax Department, and Karachi Airport etc. Brought up under a strong family background strictly based on human values, Dr. Tariq, brushing aside all temptations of commercialism in his profession and is serving people selflessly with a strong passion for human values.

PAGE: Health and education are the areas, which practically speaking comes on the lowest priority in the developing world and Pakistan too was not an exception. In the backdrop of these ground realities what would you suggest to provide a strong health cover to the people in general who are exposed to the highly vulnerable health care system which has swayed away by the cultural invasion studded with the malaise of commercialism and materialism?

DR. TARIQ: If we look back into the past, these two areas i.e. health and education were treated as the sacred professions and the people engaged with these professions were respected at all levels of the society. No doubt the commercialism has eroded our social roots in these two areas, however, we should not blame to any outside cultural invasion. In fact, it was the responsibility of the society in general and the government in particular to protect these two areas from all social ills in the larger interest of the nation as well as the country. The society has failed to take concrete steps for the health care of the people in general. Consequently, the poor easily got prey to the quakes, and other cheaper form of treatment only because of financial constraints. On the other side of the story, we see that the Army which has established Combined Military Hospitals (CMH) are providing medical care to Army personnel on merit irrespective to the official status of the patient.

Hospitals on the pattern of CMH if set up in the civil society can help resolve the most crucial issue of healthcare of the common man.



PAGE: On the pattern of life insurance, would it be commercially or economically viable to set up Health Insurance Corporation with the sole purpose to provide health services to the policyholders.

DR. TARIQ: It is a wonderful idea and can work effectively and may be more productive as compared to the concept of life insurance business in our society. Actually, people are dangerously exposed to the onslaught of different fatal diseases, and eventualities in the modern lifestyle which is full of unpredictable happenings such as strokes due to mounting tension, cardiac and hepatitis problems, and even road accidents which have become a part of our daily life.

People with low income or even average income cannot meet the medical expenses off handedly. In many cases people either lose their life or become handicapped for the rest of life only due to financial constraints. Under such circumstances, a health insurance cover at a reasonable insurance fee would be a highly welcome step and people would like to be the member of such health insurance cover system provided the institution establishes its credibility to deliver the benefits to the policyholders. It may be called as a win win situation both for the organization as well as the people in general.

PAGE: How would you commend on the system of panel provided by different organizations to their employees for medical care.

DR. TARIQ: The panel system in fact has opened doors of corruption at a massive scale in Pakistan. Take the example of various public sector corporations and other large organizations where the employees were eligible to avail medical facilities from different hospitals and the specialists. This panel system was grossly misused and become a source of large scale embezzlement. A major role was played by this panel system in the huge losses running in billions of rupees in these corporations.

PAGE: Currently, the formidable eruption of hepatitis B and C has become a major source of concern for the people in general. What would you suggest to overcome this problem?

DR. TARIQ: The major reasons for spread of this disease are re-use of syringes, infected blood transfusion, and sex delivery transformation. There is a need to ensure that only disposable syringe is used and that is too for once. Blood banks are another weak area where proper screening of the blood is essentially required. The banks do not carry out the required tests of the donated blood. In order to screen out the blood at a satisfactory level, three tests are required which approximately cost around Rs1000 while the blood bags are available at Rs800 this situation is self-explanatory of the situation.