Creation of PAP

 In 1976 some Pathologists gathered in the PMA House Garden Road, Karachi to form a forum for pathologists and they named it Pakistan Association of Pathologists (PAP). A total of 18 pathologists were present and Prof N A Jaffery from Jinnah Postgraduate, Medical Center was elected as founder president and Dr. Mansoor Dar was elected as founder secretary/treasurer. The office of PAP, since then, rotates in the city from where the president and secretary/treasurer are elected. 

During subsequent years this association became stringer and bigger and presently the total number of memberships including junior members and associate members has exceeded. A very successful policy for improving the awareness of the subject of Pathology in institutions and hospitals was to hold annual conferences of PAP in different cities in the medical colleges and local hospitals or ideal hotels; so that the doctors in these hospitals realize that the subject of Pathology is not confined to a small clinical laboratory, but it is the largest subject of the medical sciences with numerous subspecialties such as histopathology, microbiology, molecular pathology, hematology, chemical pathology, immunology, cytology, forensic pathology and applied cytogenetic.  In addition when PAP became a member of the South Asian Society of pathologists, these academic, conferences were held every two years in different regional countries including Pakistan. This gave an international exposure to our pathologists, who in competition tried to present better research papers. In addition every four years an international conference of PAP is held on rotation giving a chance to different cities to organize a very large moot of pathologists. Senior pathologists played a vital role in improving the Pathology services and strengthening the association of Pathologists.

 Modern era and Training of Pathologists

Over a period of time the clinicians who totally depended upon the Pathology services and now departments of Pathology in most of the teaching hospitals and otherwise have acquired a very central position in the development of Pathology services for the patients and the training of junior pathologists. Pathology for the last 50 years is a part and parcel of the teaching of all medical degrees, diplomas and fellowships in clinical sciences. The role of Armed Forces Institute of Pathology should not be undermined. It was created in 1949 at Rawalpindi. It provided the best services in Pathology since a long time ago along with the training of army personnel on regular basis. For the last few years they have started training the civilian candidates as well. AFIP was able to train pathologists required by the army by using their grading system and later on through college of Physicians and Surgeons and university degrees such as M.Phils and PhDs. In addition, Agha Khan University carries a star position in the development of a state of the art pathology department and a very wide pathology network in the country. They are also training many pathologists for FCPS; and carry out a good quality clinical and clinic pathological research.

An overview of Pathology services in Pakistan will tell us that there are excellent institutions with all the facilities to train people and carry out research in Pathology. The subject of Pathology like in many other developed countries is undergoing specialization in most of the places. There are four basic branches of Pathology i.e. Histopathology, Microbiology, Hematology and Chemical Pathology present in most institutions. However, in other institutions specialties such as Immuno Pathology, Molecular Biology and Clinical Genetics are also available with specialist staff to provide service and to train pathologists. The introductions of treatment/investigational modalities are being introduced fairly soon after they are marketed in the western world. The most recent pillar added to the development of Pathology was in year 2007 when with untiring efforts of Lt. Gen. Manzoor Ahmad and his helpers (i.e. PAP). The College of Pathologists Pakistan came into existence. The creation of college was an intention to increase the academic by inviting speakers from abroad and holding joint conferences, symposia and seminars.

The present status of laboratory medicine shows that its standards vary with institutions. Agha Khan University, AFIP and Shaukat Khanum Memorial Hospital and Research Center (private sector) have state of the art laboratories and provide pathology services to a significant portion of the population. These institutions have well qualified pathologists in various specialties along with a strong infrastructure.  On the other hand in government sector, the pathology services are remarkably variable but are a great stress of work because they are serving the non-affording masses. In Punjab, the laboratories in various medical colleges are better developed than in other provinces, except Dow Medical College and Civil Hospital, Karachi. In addition some private medical colleges and laboratories have good to excellent facilities to provide teaching and service of pathology respectively. The private sector has recently come up in a remarkable way, particularly in the major cities of Pakistan.

Quality control and quality assurance should be properly practiced in all laboratories at all levels whether in government sector or private sector. However in some institutions and laboratories quality control is a part of regular laboratory practice. We should be honest and practice professional ethics to the extent to produce best possible results in clinical and pathological investigations. The internal and external audits need to be encouraged and practiced.