Allied Health Professional is a medical field in which many different technological fields are included such as Medical Imaging technology, Laboratory technology, Operation theater technology. Many universities in Pakistan offer allied health professional degrees to students who have completed intermediate pre-medical studies. Many of Pakistan’s most renowned universities, including Government College University Faisalabad, The University of Faisalabad, Children Hospital Lahore, Rawalpindi Medical College, and King Edward Medical University Lahore, to name a few, offer four-year BS (Hons) programs in allied health professions.
Medical imaging is one of the important areas of the allied health profession that has fostered a keen sense of vision in medical research, resulting in a major transformation in the healthcare system. It is one of the emerging and most diverse fields of medical sciences. The term ‘Medical imaging’ refers to a wide range of imaging examinations, including X-rays, which look at your bones, cavities, and any foreign objects that may have found their way through your system; an MRI scan, which creates a two- or three-dimensional map of the tissue in your body; an angiography, which looks at the blood vessels in your body; and an ultrasound scan, which may monitor a developing pregnancy. Medical imaging covers a variety of imaging modalities and techniques used to view the human body for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes. These numerous imaging tests are now incredibly pertinent and valuable in the treatment and diagnosis of illness.
Many medical students in Pakistan are expressing an interest in studying medical imaging technology. The merits in universities for this area are rising every year. This field’s demand is becoming fiercely competitive. Consider the merits of King Edward Medical University’s BS (Hons) medical imaging technology program. The closing merit for the 2018-2021 batch was 87.6%, but the merit for the most recent admission, the 2020-24 batch, was 91.22 percent. The rise in the merit percentage reflects how strongly students engage in these programs, making the atmosphere more competitive and demanding. The competitive environment is one of the reasons for the annual increase in merit for the medical imaging field. However, there is a growing interest in the field of medical imaging, but there are some difficulties that students face in this field.
Unfortunately, there is no approved council for allied health professionals in Pakistan. Other occupations in Pakistan have their councils, such as the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council for medical professionals, the Pakistan Bar Council for lawyers, and the Pakistan Pharmacy Council for pharmacists. These councils have the power for the management of the profession and are responsible for the productivity and improvement of the specified profession, as well as providing recognition to graduate students and assisting in the creation of a healthy atmosphere for potential students.
In developed countries of the world, there is a dedicated council and board that provide recognition for medical imaging professionals, radiography technologists, nuclear medicine technology, and radiation therapists. For example, in Australia, there is a medical radiation practice board, in New Zealand, there is a medical radiation technologies board, and in Belgium, there is a Belgian Society of Radiology. Education, accreditation, professional support, licensing, and regular training are all considered to be part of all these organization’s missions.
It is necessary at this time to establish a medical imaging council so that students in this field can gain recognition for their profession. The council would support medical imaging technology students in a variety of ways. With the council’s support, it would be possible to provide students with advanced training in hospitals after they complete their bachelor’s degree. The council will have the power to set necessary codes and guidelines for Pakistani medical imaging practitioners, which will help to create a more suitable and healthier working environment for imaging professionals as well as patients. These codes and guidelines will aim to help and encourage practitioners in providing relevant, reliable services while remaining ethical.
Another downside of the absence of a council is that there are no appropriate radiation protection measures established for practitioners and staff members, especially in Pakistan’s less developed cities. Furthermore, every diagnostic center will be required to meet proper and strict radiation protection guidelines, and everyone will adhere to these guidelines for their safety as well as to protect patients from excessive radiation exposure. In the presence of the regulating body, medical imaging technology will flourish into an orthodox professional medical imaging network all over the country. Pakistan is a country with a significant number of young citizens who are eager to work hard to advance in the technological sector. Government should pay attention to this matter and provide a platform for recognition of the existing and future medical imaging professionals. There is no question that the medical imaging industry will develop and flourish in the future if satisfactory frameworks and acknowledgment are given to these inspired young students.
The writer is Medical Imaging Technologist in Private Sector, Okara.
Published in Daily The Patriot, March 28th, 2021