By Yasha Nazir Butt
Photos Credits: Maryam Dar (PU, IBB)
On the 13th of April 2016, the Al-Razi Hall of Undergraduate Block, University of the Punjab was packed with a gathering of guests, speakers, organizers, and participants to attend an informative symposium on Infectious diseases, prevention, and control. The crowd primarily included students teemed with the curiosity to learn about the importance of vaccines for immunization; yet they were unaware of how much more enlightenment was planned for them ahead. This International symposium in collaboration with a renowned multinational biop
harmaceutical company “Pfizer” aimed at creating public awareness regarding prevention and treatment of infectious diseases.
The symposium plan featured the input of six chief organizers of PU including Prof. Dr. Muhammad Naeem Khan, Dean of Faculty of Life Sciences; Prof. Dr. Javed Iqbal Qazi, Chairman of the Department of Zoology; Dr. Mahjabeen Saleem, Incharge IBB; Dr. Asma Manzoor, Assistant professor, IBB; Dr. Muhammad Khurshid, Assistant Professor, IBB and Dr. Zafar Iqbal, Assistant Professor at IBB.
Opening speech was made by Dr. Mahjabeen Saleem, who amiably welcomed the attendees after the inauguration of ceremony.
Dr. Spenta Kakalia, Assistant Prof. at CMH College Lahore, gave a spirited presentation outlining the causes and prevention of pneumococcal disease caused by infectious bacteria. She highlighted the statistical figures limited to Pakistan for a comprehensive yet defined overview regarding the prevalence of infectious diseases caused by harmful bacteria around us. As a solution to these diseases she elucidated the importance of vaccines to eliminate any risks of pneumonia especially in children under the age of five.
Prof. Dr. Naeem Khan admired the students of life sciences for their dedication, hard work, and perseverance they demonstrate in their research work and projects. He also reminded them that they must not stay confined to their own departments but collaborate with the other departments in the University to maintain a good trend of interdisciplinary approach.
Dr. Sajjad Rafiq, Pediatrician & Neonatologist, Hamid Latif Hospital, Lahore, provoked the importance of preventing the infectious diseases rather curing them. He talked about the prevalence of polio virus and expressed his views on the negligible side effects of polio vaccines. In his speech he condemned how little we discuss about health and its improvement in our daily life conversations. “We Talk about everything but health”, Dr. Sajjad.
Dr. Farhana Muzaffar, Skin and Laser Specialist, Hamid Latif Hospital, Lahore, talked on common skin infectious diseases. She gave an overview of bacterial, viral, and fungal infections which can be prevented b
y keeping up with cleanliness and hygienic practices, antimicrobials, and public awareness. She discussed the cosmetic dermatology involving anti-aging, treatment of acne, laser treatment, and botox. She also told the participants that it was necessary for them to avoid direct UV from sun but early morning sunlight is fine. “Early morning sunlight is beneficial for health”, said Dr. Farhana.
Prof. Dr. Javed Iqbal Qazi was an eye opener since he amalgamated the principles of biochemistry with errands in daily life by making it more engaging for the students. His speech ended up with a spirited audience since his talk provoked these listeners to revise their concepts in biology about how diseases occur and the mechanisms against infections adopted by the human body.
(The writer is a Fulbright Global Ugrad Exchange Alumna of Spring 2014 (Keene State College, NH, USA) and is currently a senior year research student at the Institute of Biochemistry and Biotechnology, University of the Punjab)