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Pak medics with MS, MD degrees sacked in Saudi

Most of the affected doctors were hired by a team of the Saudi Health Ministry in 2016 when it conducted interviews in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad after inviting applications online.

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Doctors

Islamabad, Aug 7 (IANS) Saudi Arabia and along with other Arab countries have rejected the century-old postgraduate degree programme of Pakistan – MS (Master of Surgery) and MD (Doctor of Medicine) – removing it from the eligibility list of the highest paid tier, the media reported on Wednesday.

The move by the kingdom has reportedly rendered hundreds of highly-qualified medics jobless, Dawn newspaper reported. It said that a majority of them are in Saudi Arabia who have been told to leave or be ready for deportation.

The Saudi Health Ministry, while rejecting Pakistan’s MS/MD degree, said it lacked structured training programme — a mandatory requirement to hire medics against important positions.

After the kingdom’s move, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain also took the similar step, according to the report.

Most of the affected doctors were hired by a team of the Saudi Health Ministry in 2016 when it conducted interviews in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad after inviting applications online.

One of the affected doctors told the daily that the decision “brought embarrassment for them” since the same degree programme offered by India, Egypt, Sudan and Bangladesh was acceptable in the kingdom and other countries.

The daily said that it obtained copies of service termination letters of several doctors issued by the Saudi Commission for Health Specialties (SCFHS).

“Your application for professional qualification has been rejected. Reason is that your master degree from Pakistan is not acceptable according to the SCFHS regulations,” read a letter.

Some of the affected doctors and senior health officials in Pakistan blamed the College of Physicians and Surgeons Pakistan (CPSP) for “damaging their career”, the report said.

A spokesperson for the Association of University Physicians and Surgeons Pakistan, Dr Asad Noor Mirza, called the move “a setback for Pakistan’s major degree qualification and disrespect to the highly-qualified cream of the nation”.

He claimed that CPSP delegations during their visits to Saudi Arabia and some Gulf states had presented “distorted facts” about Pakistan’s university programme.

Noor said that now Pakistan had to face a huge loss of foreign remittance in addition to sufferings of the medics in the form of joblessness.

Dr Ali Usman, an affected medic in Saudi Arabia, said: “I had done five-year postgraduate qualification from the University of Health Sciences, Lahore, with training from Lahore General Hospital… But all of a sudden the Saudi Health Ministry terminated my job contract, landing me and my family in immense shock.”

University of Health Sciences Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Javed Akram, however, said that “the MS/MD degrees are enriched with dynamic… and structured curriculum… at par excellence of international standards designed by the World Federation of Medical Education”.

Dean (academics) of the CPSP, Prof Dr Ghulam Mustafa Arain, rejected the allegations levelled by the affected doctors and said the institution “can’t think of degrading any medical education programme of Pakistan abroad”.

Middle East

More advanced equipment to replace damaged part of Iran n-site

Natanz, located some 250 km south of Tehran, includes underground facilities buried under some 25 feet of concrete, which offers protection from airstrikes.

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Iran Nuclear Power Plant

Tehran, July 6 : A new and more advanced structure will be built at Iran”s Natanz nuclear facility to replace the one damaged in a recent fire “incident”, a spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) said on Monday.

“Necessary arrangements have been made to rebuild the damaged shed at Shahid Ahmadi Roshan (Natanz) nuclear facility and a bigger shed with more advanced equipment is to replace it,” the spokesman, Behrouz Kamalvandi said.

More centrifuge machines were supposed to be produced at the damaged shed, Kamalvandi said, adding that parts of measurement and precision tools in the shed were destroyed and damaged in the “incident”, reports Xinhua news agency

The “incident” has not caused hindrance in Iran”s enrichment work, although it may slow down development and manufacture of advanced machines in the medium term, he said.

“We would make up for this slowdown through round-the-clock work and diligent efforts of our colleagues at the organization.”

On July 2, Iran announced that the fire at the Natanz nuclear facility caused no damage to the establishment, but it affected one of the structures for storing stock items.

The next day, Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) saidthat the country”s experts had determined the main cause of “incident” and would announce it at an “appropriate time”.

Natanz, located some 250 km south of Tehran, includes underground facilities buried under some 25 feet of concrete, which offers protection from airstrikes.

The facility is a Fuel Enrichment Plant covering 100,000 square meters.

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Disaster

Iraq confirms 2,312 new Covid-19 cases; 102 more deaths

Since the outbreak of the coronavirus, Iraq has been taking measures to contain the pandemic.

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Saudi Arabia Coronavirus Covid 19

Baghdad, July 4 : Iraqi Health Ministry on Friday confirmed 2,312 new Covid-19 cases, as the total number of infections climbed to 56,020.

The ministry also confirmed 102 more deaths, raising the death toll from the infectious virus to 2,262 in the country, Xinhua reported.

It also said that 1,688 people recovered during the day, bringing the total recoveries from the disease to 29,600.

The new cases were recorded after 12,176 testing kits were used across the country during the past 24 hours, and a total of 579,861 tests have been carried out since the outbreak of the disease, according to the ministry”s statement.

The ministry frequently attributed the recent increase of COVID-19 infections to the lack of compliance of the citizens to the health instructions, as well as to the increase in the testing capacity due to the increase of labs in Baghdad and the other Iraqi provinces.

Since the outbreak of the coronavirus, Iraq has been taking measures to contain the pandemic.

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Middle East

Turkey to extend wage support for another month amid COVID-19

Turkey conducted 51,014 tests for coronavirus in the last 24 hours, bringing the overall number of tests carried out so far to 3,331,158, he stated.

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Ankara, June 30 : Turkey will extend a wage support system for one more month to ease the impact of COVID-19, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced.

The government will also extend a financial aid program for low-income families for one more month, Erdogan told reporters after a cabinet meeting on Monday, Xinhua news agency reported.

The wage support system, which covers the workers whose working hours are reduced by their employers, was introduced in March for three months just after Turkey introduced strict measures to tackle the virus outbreak.

The Turkish president also said Turkey will deliver an aid package to Iraq on Tuesday.

Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca on Monday reported 1,374 new COVID-19 cases, raising the total number of infections in the country to 198,613.

In a single day, 18 more patients died, taking the death toll to 5,115 in Turkey, the minister tweeted.

Turkey conducted 51,014 tests for coronavirus in the last 24 hours, bringing the overall number of tests carried out so far to 3,331,158, he stated.

Koca said that a total of 171,809 patients have recovered in the country since the outbreak after 1,214 more recoveries were added in the last 24 hours.

Meanwhile, 1,018 patients are being treated at the intensive care units and 375 being intubated, he added.

Turkey reported the first COVID-19 case in the country on March 11.

Turkey and China have supported each other in the fight against COVID-19. Chinese doctors and medical experts held a video conference with Turkish counterparts to share China”s experience in treating coronavirus patients, protecting medical workers, and controlling the spread of the virus.

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