By AR Sajid

LAHORE:  University of Health Sciences (UHS) Lahore acting vice chancellor Dr. Junaid Sarfraz has been removed from his post due to the ongoing issue of medical entry test paper leak. A formal notification in this regard has been issued by the Secretary Specialized Healthcare and Medical Education Department Punjab.

Dr. Faisal Masud, former VC KEMU has been nominated as new acting VC UHS by the same notification. He was also given Tamgha-e-Imtiaz by the Government of Pakistan on his meritorious performance in the medical education.

Earlier today Provincial Minister for Specialized Healthcare & Medical Education Khawaja Salman Rafique has said that the joint investigation committee constituted by the Chief Minister Punjab has got some of the evidences about the leakage of MCAT paper from the University of Health Sciences. On the basis of it, it has been decided that the said paper will be taken again at the end of the month and the exact date will be announced in a day or two.

Faisal Masud obtained an MBBS degree in 1976, from Nishtar Medical College, Multan, securing overall top position and was selected as the ‘best graduate’.

He became a Member of Royal College of Physicians, Edinburgh, Glasgow and London in 1982 and a Fellow of Royal College of Physicians, Edinburgh in 1998. His area of interest is endocrinology.

He started his teaching career from Allama Iqbal Medical college in 1982 and then moved on to teach at FJMC, King Edward Medical College, Lahore, Post Graduate Medical Institute, Lahore and Services Institute of Medical Sciences, Lahore.

He was passionate in his belief that the medical colleges and universities should become sources of new knowledge and that could only be achieved by investing in research. He encouraged basic research and sometimes referred clinical research as mere “stamp collecting effort”. Although he himself started as a clinical researcher with numerous research publications to his credit, over time his emphasis shifted more towards the basic research. He wanted to create a multi-disciplinary research group as he often said,”The best research proposals come from cross insemination of ideas from unrelated fields”. He managed to create an endowment fund for SIMS to provide annual research grants to the promising young researchers. In this process he established a system of grant assessment and research audit.

In 2003, in the face of stiff administrative opposition, he started a comprehensive diabetes management center at services hospital Lahore where he was serving as a professor at that time.

His daughter Zulekha Masud helped him write a software for this center to create a huge database of more than 84,000 patients of diabetes. This center was upgraded with philanthropic support in 2004 to full fledged department of endocrinology and metabolism to impart post-graduate endocrine training. In recognition of this effort College of physicians and surgeons of Pakistan (CPSP) elected him as its first fellow in the field of endocrinology.

Role in Dengue epidemic 2011

In 2011 when the province of Punjab faced an epidemic of dengue, he was appointed by the government to head a group of experts to draw up treatment protocols and algorithms for its management. This group of experts (DEAG) Dengue expert advisory group was instrumental in training of family physicians, doctors and paramedics and publication of GCP (good clinical practice) guidelines for the management of dengue. For his efforts during this epidemic he was decorated with Tamgha-e-Imtiaz in August 2012. Soon afterwards he got promoted in recognition of the meritorious services rendered by him during the epidemic.

PIC related drug reaction

In early December 2011, soon after the end of dengue epidemic, Lahore hospitals started receiving patients with bone marrow suppression. Most of them tested positive for dengue IgM raising a possibility of some aberrant form of dengue disease. He was the first one to raise alarm about the possibility of a drug reaction, pointing to the common denominator of the consumption of PIC (Punjab Institute of Cardiology) dispensed medications. He strongly disagreed with the possibility of it being a variant of Dengue. He was a member appointed to inquire into this matter. He was proven right when the problem was traced to a heart medicine that was heavily contaminated with antimalarial (pyrimethamine) which is known for its hematological side effects.

Hospital automation and EMR

His enthusiasm to embrace IT as tool for effective management and for gleaning authentic data for resource allocation was greeted with muted skepticism, considering the previous attempts at other institutions were absolute failure. Within three years he not only prepared the EMR and hospital management software but also got it implemented. When asked he once said,”Changing the hardened attitudes in a public sector establishment is the biggest challenge”.

Although his administrative abilities were doubted, he proved his critics wrong when he established Services Institute of Medical Sciences, in the face of stiff opposition.

Services Institute of Medical Sciences is now a premier destination for the students seeking quality medical education. He achieved phenomenal success in creating acceptability of the institution which was recognized by Pakistan Medical and Dental Council, University of Health Sciences and College of Physicians and Surgeons of Pakistan. Results declared by independent examining body, UHS, show extraordinary achievements of SIMS. He believed in the need for meticulous planning for the future while drawing up development plans. His development plans often faced bureaucratic obstacles for being too ambitious. He was relegated to political back waters because he was often bracketed with the outgoing government of PML-Q of 2008; but in spite of the fiscal constraints he managed to up grade the infra-structure including OPD tower, radiology block in addition to the three story air-conditioned waiting hall, Accidents and Emergency Department with 16 slice CT Scanner thereby almost doubling the covered area of the hospital. His interest in the endocrine disorders was, perhaps, the reason behind the establishment of assisted conception Unit at SHL. Although a physician by training, his faculty members often call him a surgeon by temperament. Not surprisingly he invested disproportionately in surgical sector upgrading ENT, Urology, General surgery, Ophthalmology Department and operation theaters.

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