Biomedical Engineering-the neglected discipline
AS IT is said, this is the era is of specialization. Everywhere in the whole world science is expanding its boundaries by appropriate measures and so its the need of every nation. Each and every one is working for the advancement and development. In this regard, engineering plays a key role. Though a lot of work has been done in many aspects and now it has entered into the field of Medicine and they call it Bio-Medical Engineering.
Health has always been a major issue for any country. In this regard efforts can be made at any level in order to provide the best facilities. Formerly it was considered that Bio-Medical Engineering is limited to the field of investigations and to confirm the diagnosis. But according to new research and development, it is now playing a vital role in the mode of treatment. It has completely modified the concept of treatment of many conditions from conventional to modern scientific techniques. And so it has proved to be beneficial for the healthcare systems not only for investigations but also treatment aspects. Developed countries are making the best use of this Engineering by Bio-Medical Engineers.
In Pakistan, Bio-Medical Engineering was introduced first time in 1996. Though it has been more than 10 years but yet unfortunately it has not given much importance.
Medical doctors are said to be angel by patients and why not, they are bound to save human life. For understanding the full cycle of human body, diseases, symptoms and etc, they were sent to government hospitals; it is compulsory for a medical student to work for one year under a professor, before one is awarded degree of MBBS with licence to practice. But without medical equipments it is difficult to survive for patients in critical condition
BM engineers may also need to require practical and technical training for better understanding the principles of medical equipments, parallel as MBBS doctors with patients .Every year almost 100s of students are graduating in Bio-Medical Engineering but because of unavailability of any platform, they are moving to administrative or other aspects of field. Yet there is no any position announced by government for the government hospitals or there is no any government policy available for BM Engineers. This is the time of need when health issues in Pakistan are at peak. Immediate measures must be taken to have the best outcome from this field of Engineering. Public health sector is spending millions on machines used for different purposes and machines required good maintenance for proper working which cannot be provided by anyone but only by Bio-Medical Engineers. Thats the main reason that many of our institutes have the most expensive machines but not in a working condition.
On the other hand, coming to the ground realities which are bitter to accept and very important to be considered. Many Bio-Medical Engineers are working in hospitals but they are equivalent to diploma holders or lower technical staff. Some may think that BM engineer install, adjust, maintain, and/or repair biomedical equipment only. But this is totally wrong. These engineers can steer hospital administrators on the planning, procurement, and use of medical equipment, arrange and supervise research concerning behavioral, biological, psychological, or other life systems, conduct research with scientists, chemists and medical scientist on engineering of the biological systems of humans and animals, figure out the safety, efficiency, and effectiveness of biomedical equipment. Some may also teach, write, consult, and/or manage. Even after completing the graduation from recognized engineering universities, they are considered as simple technicians but not as engineers which is very unjustified, and if we talk about pay scale the condition is even worse. Fresh graduates start their job from about Rs 10,000 per month salary which is the pay of a non-degree person.
In this regard as a whole, senior officials have been urged to take notice on this important issue. Bio-Medical Engineering is becoming the nerve of healthcare system worldwide. By the Grace of Almighty, we have the members and facility available. Only what we need right now is to polish our Engineers by providing them a dais to work and give them appropriate position in our healthcare system for which they truly deserve.
The writer is BE Biomedical Engineering, ME Telemedicine and E-health systems