Published On: Mon, Sep 18th, 2023
Published in Category: Karachi

Dr. Fowzia Siddiqui expresses grave concern on acute shortage of epilepsy treatment facilities in the country

Share This

KARACHI/QUETTA: President of Epilepsy Foundation Pakistan and noted neurophysician of the country Dr. Fowzia Siddiqui has expressed grave concern over acute shortage of the epilepsy treatment facilities in the country and demanded of the ministry of health to take urgent notice of it.

Addressing the Epilepsy Mini Fellowship 2023 at Serena Hotel Quetta, as course director along with Dr. Rashid Jooma organized by Hilton Pharma she said that epilepsy is a very complex entity with many different clinical manifestations and carries a very grave stamina. About the mini fellowship, she said it is an extensive course derived from 13th the Kiffin Penary Epilepsy Mini Fellows Association of Winston-Salem, USA.

She said the course is modified to our local needs in order to help physicians dealing with Epilepsy patients, manage them with scientific precision and understanding. Dr. Fowzia Siddiqui said that in Pakistan there is an acute shortage of neurologists and no formal training in epilepsy so managing this over 2 million affected patients with its scary myths, confused diagnosis and selection of the right medication is a complex art.

She said that in this unique, intensive program neurologists learn how to better treat their patients from some of the leading epilepsy clinicians and researchers in the country. This 3 day weekend-long education programs facilitate learning through lectures, group discussions and case-study workshops.

It may be noted that in 2006, Dr. Fowzia Siddiqui upon returning from Pakistan along with Dr. Jooma recognized a tremendous need for physician education in the field of epilepsy. She envisioned a comprehensive epilepsy education program to train young neurologists and physicians in the diagnosis, treatment, and management of seizures in order to better treat patients with epilepsy, in a manner similar to that done in Salem Massachusetts initiated by Dr. Kiffen J Penri.

Six years later, her vision became a reality. With financial support from the Abbott Laboratories and assistance from well-known neurologists nationwide, Dr. Jooma and Dr. Fowzia did the first program in Pakistan in 2012 later this program was supported by Hilton and Getz Pharma. Dr. Fowzia Siddiqui's enthusiasm and passion were felt by all, and, after 12 years she has trained over 400 young physicians.

The MiniFellowship Programs have been offered every year since the pilot program in 2012. As the MiniFellowship program thrived, she saw a need to educate non-neurologists and paraprofessionals in institutional settings who treat epilepsy patients with multiple handicaps and developmental disabilities, which are specifically designed for physicians caring for the developmentally disabled population. Thus providing the young doctors with the latest comprehensive information on the diagnosis and treatment of epilepsy.

Each year, the program's attendance goal is to host at least one doctor from each neurology program. Participation in the Program is through private invitation, determined in consultation with the various residency directors. This Epilepsy Education Program is uniquely structured to facilitate learning through innovative interactive methods.

Epilepsy MiniFellowship Program includes renowned neurologists from all over Pakistan including from Karachi the head of department Dow University and president of Pakistan Society of Neurology Dr. Naila Shahbaz, former Dean of Aga Khan university Dr. Nadir Ali Syed, Dr. Mughese Shirani South City hospital and head neurologist SIUT, Dr. Prem Chand pediatric neurologist Aga Khan University, Professor and president WCN Dr. Muhammad Wasay From Islamabad, Head of department Shifa Medical Center Islamabad Dr. Maimoona Siddiqui, Professor Dr. Arsalan Ahmed head Shifa neurology program. From Quetta Dr. Saleem Baraich, and Dr. Ahmed Wali.