KARACHI - Institute for Behavioural Sciences (IBS), established by renowned nuclear scientist of the country, Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan, on Tuesday organised a ceremony for selected family physicians of Sindh who successfully completed a specially designed course in psychiatry.

The course was conducted by IBS in collaboration with Dow University of Health Sciences, with Prof. Ishaq Sirhandi, head of psychiatry department Dow International Medical College as the course director.

Senior psychiatrists including Dr. Raza ur Rehman (head of psychiatry department, DUHS and Civil Hospital -Karachi), Dr. Ayesha Qureishi (Liaquat National Hospital), Dr. Moin Ansari (Sir Cowasjee Institute of Mental Health, Hyderabad), Dr. Ayesha Sarwat (DUHS), Dr.  Iqtedar Taufiq (Liaquat National Medical College) were the faculty members of the 15 days course.

Dr Ishaq Sirhandi on the occasion said rising incidence of psychiatric disorders enhanced the need for proper training of family physicians in the discipline.

The responsibility and relevance of family physicians increases all the more due to restricted numbers of qualified psychiatrists in the country, said the course director.

Senator Abdul Haseeb Khan, a governing body member of Institute of Behavioural Sciences said the institute was committed to the cause of affordable, accessible and culturally relevant mental healthcare for all.

He said depression and other psychiatric as well as emotional disorders were often consequent to distress. “It is therefore extremely important to provide them needed support,” he said.

The senator attributed the situation also to social pressures and disintegration in the family setup. “This is perhaps high time that we revert to the Islamic teachings that hold each and every member of the family in particular and society responsible to one another,” said the senator Prof Masood Hameed Khan, vice chancellor of DUHS, appreciative of the fact that family physicians were the first line of healthcare providers for the people and that they also enjoyed absolute confidence of their patients said the precious resource has to be utilized to meet the initial psychiatric care need of the people.

“These qualified personnel can be of great help in timely diagnosis, initial intervention and referral of the needed case to psychiatrists so as to help patients in need,” he said.

Prof Masood Hameed Khan referred to modules developed by DUHS for family physicians keen to update their knowledge and refresh their professional skills in basic as well as different fields of medicine.

He offered the organizers of the psychiatry training program to join hands with DUHS so that the training module developed by them could be made web based and benefit no less than 150,000 registered family physicians of the country.

The DUHS Vice Chancellor mentioned that the university is already in process to launch web based continuing medical education (CME) programs for doctors serving in areas like Malakand, Tharparkar and so-forth.

“DUHS is committed to provide equal opportunities to all qualified family physicians to update their skills through easy access to CME programs,” said Prof. Masood Hameed Khan.

On the occasion certificates were distributed among the course participants, comprising family physicians only who were selected for the program on basis of a strict criteria.

The organisers mentioned that a psychologist and a nurse were also selected for the program on basis of their service rendered to the patients.