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President Note


Prof. Sumaira Farman Raja

Prof. Sumaira Farman Raja MBBS, FRCP, FACP, FACR SCE Rheumatology (UK)
Certificate Paediatric Rheumatology (Australia) 
Consultant Rheumatologist & Physician Professor & Co-Chair, Department of Rheumatology National Hospital & Medical Centre, DHA, Lahore


When I started my training program in Rheumatology, I was working as Assistant Professor Medicine and this anticipated demotion elicited a universal reaction from my Professor and seniors colleagues; I was told I had lost my mind, since I would get no degree at the end of it. At that time being granted membership of PSR was the only validation of acceptance of training in Pakistan. For that I shall always be grateful to the society that welcomed me with open arms, legitimized my status as a Rheumatologist and encouraged me to continue my endeavor. Many of these pioneering people I am now proud to call friend, and deeply humbled to be writing in this present capacity.

PSR founding members undertook the herculean task of creating awareness within the Pakistani public and medical fraternity that Rheumatology is NOT another name for Orthopedics and does not equal RA and AS alone! That these conditions are controllable to a great degree with early and correct diagnosis and treatment thereby saving precious life, and quality of life. The society members actively initiated and participated in training, research and improved clinical care. CPSP recognition was a hard fought battle by senior members of PSR that brought fruit in the end with initiation of FCPS RHEUMATOLOGY training in 2009.

We recently lost one of these pioneering members, Dr. Azra Arif Ali. She had not only been the first president of PSR, but a dear friend as well. We shall always miss her.

Musculoskeletal (MSK) diseases worldwide are among the top 5 reasons for physician visits and financially place a huge burden on resources, with resultant long term morbidity attached to many inflammatory conditions. Presently in the government sector rheumatology services are provided in only one Punjab government and one Federal government hospital. 

We lack adequate epidemiological studies & data on incidence and prevalence of rheumatic diseases, which is the necessary pre requisite to quantifying disease burden, hopefully leading to a paradigm shift in public funds allocation to MSK disease. In the coming years we hope to create a disease data base with collaborative studies between all centers for better integration within the country. 

We need to push for training centers in all teaching hospitals with an aim to have a rheumatologist in every big city of Pakistan. PSR must continue activities pertaining to continuing education of general Physicians as well as increased awareness within the public.

We also hope to increase our presence internationally particularly within the APLAR region with better participation in research and clinical forums.

The young Rheumatologists are the future of PSR, and we are looking toward to their increased participation as well as facilitating training opportunities for them wherever possible within The Asia Pacific region and beyond. Together we hope to take PSR to the next level of excellence.


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