The Centre of Biomedical Ethics and Culture (CBEC) of SIUT was designated as a World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Centre in Bioethics at a special ceremony held at SIUT. This is the first such centre in the entire Eastern Mediterranean Region (EMRO) of WHO in which Pakistan is included along with 21 other countries.
To mark the occasion of the collaboration, the flag of world health body (WHO) was officially handed over to Professor Farhat Moazam, Chairperson of CBEC by the WHO head of Pakistan mission, Mr. Mohammad Assai Ardakani and WHO Geneva representative Dr. Andreas Reis. Also present on the occasion was Professor Adib Rizvi, Director SIUT.
In his welcome address, Professor Rizvi mentioned that the bioethics centre at SIUT was the only one of its kind in the country which was established in 2004. Since then, he said over 100 professionals from across the country and abroad have graduated from its academic programs. In the current class, he mentioned that in addition to Pakistani students, other students ailing from Kenya, Uganda and Qatar are also participating.
Dr Reis from WHO Geneva, spoke about the already longstanding collaboration between the Centre and WHO along with plans for the future. Dr. Reis said “We are pleased that the Centre of Biomedical Ethics and Culture of SIUT has been recognized as a Collaborating Center for bioethics, and has thus joined the WHO family. It is not only one of the oldest and most prestigious institutions working on bioethics in the region, but it also has an excellent reputation at an international level.”
The Center has great deal to offer to WHO and its work in bioethics. WHO has greatly benefited from the Centre’s expertise and contributions in different areas, such as ethics in organ transplantation, research ethics, and epidemics – all of which are key priorities of WHO’s work plan.
In his address, the WHO country head Dr. Ardakani spoke very warmly of his long association with Pakistan, starting as a medical student at Dow Medical College in the early 1980s when he was a student of Professor Rizvi. He praised SIUT as an example not only for Pakistan but for the entire region, and said that he was impressed that in addition to being a leader in organ transplantation, SIUT was leading the way in bioethics also.
Professor Farhat Moazam in her talk, mentioned that over a span of 13 years since its inception, the Centre has come to be regarded as a national and regional resource for bioethics. The alumni from its academic programs are heading their own bioethics initiatives in their institutions and formed part of the caravan of bioethics that has taken shape in the past few years.