The non-availability of female doctors in Pakistan, including Karachi, has been an issue for a long time now. Women have to consult male doctors for all of their problems. But in conservatives areas, women avoid treatment altogether which often leads to complications.
Ibrahim Haideri is a suburban area of Karachi. Even though there is a government dispensary in the area, female doctors are not present.
A female patient, who visited the dispensary, left for Jinnah hospital, several kilometers away, after finding out that it had no female doctor.
Speaking to SAMAA TV, the woman said if the government had established such a huge facility in the area, then it should also have appointed a female doctor. This way, women could get treatment close to home, she said.
According to the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council, 116,915 women have been awarded MBBS degrees, but around 85,000 female doctors are not practising. Marriage is a major factor behind this.
Each year, 246,606 students are awarded MBBS degrees. The government spends Rs3 million to Rs3.5 million on every graduate.
Tariq Rafiq, the vice chancellor of Jinnah Sindh Medical University, told SAMAA TV that the parents of students pay Rs0.7 million in fees to private medical colleges every year. He said that government-run medical colleges only charge Rs30,000 a year.
Rafiq, however, said that up to Rs3 million is spent on every MBBS student from the national exchequer.
Billions of rupees from the national exchequer go to waste due to these female doctors not working in the field after graduation.
One female doctor spoke to SAMAA TV about the issues preventing them from practising. She said that female doctors are often restricted by their husbands or their in-laws from working after marriage.
Along with this, she said, many of them aspire to go abroad in search of better opportunities. She said the government should devise a policy which can prevent MBBS graduates from going abroad.