Historic Inauguration of the Medical Women’s Association of Pakistan (MWAP)

On October 26th, a significant moment was etched in history with the official launch of the Medical Women’s Association of Pakistan (MWAP), proudly affiliated with the esteemed Medical Women’s International Association (MWIA).

The activity was led by Dr. Wajiha Rizwan, the National Coordinator and Founding President of MWAP who highlighted that the journey commenced nearly a year ago, driven by the absence of an authentic voice addressing the professional challenges faced by women in medicine within Pakistan. Despite comprising 70% of medical college entries annually, female representation in the healthcare workforce and in leadership roles remained disproportionately low.

Discovering MWIA proved to be a pivotal moment. Its unwavering dedication to fostering gender equity and empowering women in healthcare served as a beacon of inspiration for the aspiring members of MWAP.

Dr. Beverly Johnson, social media chair of MWIA, was approached by Dr. Wajiha, via Facebook. Thereafter, she played a pivotal role and connected MWAP with MWIA’s Secretary General and President, providing invaluable support and guidance. Their mentorship was instrumental in the establishment of MWAP, laying the foundation for a new era in women’s healthcare in Pakistan.

The Launch event drew together both the founding members of MWAP and the executive body of MWIA, convening both online and on-site at the University of Lahore (Pakistan) for this momentous inauguration hosted by Dr. Mahwish Arooj (Fig 1). The President of MWIA Dr. Eleanor Nwadinobi, illuminated the audience with MWIA’s illustrious achievements. Accompanying her were key figures such as MWIA Treasurer Dr. Eliza Chin, Central Asia Vice President Dr. Darunee, Social Media Chair Dr. Beverly Johnson, and the President of AMWI Dr. Mandakini Megh, collectively lending their expertise and support to the inauguration.

Dr. Shamsa , Dr. Bilquis, Dr. Salma, Dr. Haleema, Dr. Khadija, Dr. Saima, Dr. Nazish, Dr. Sumaira, Dr. Nabeela, Dr. Saba, Dr. Aisha and Dr. Noor-i-Kiran were among the speakers from Pakistan who emphasized future research and academic collaborations to promote improved healthcare for all, as per the current theme of MWIA; “One humanity: health solutions through our Partnerships.”

Post-launch, MWAP embarked on a proactive journey, immediately initiating impactful activities across Pakistan. These initiatives encompassed educational endeavors, notably starting monthly seminars related to women’s health and leadership. Additionally, MWAP under the supervision of Dr. Rabia Wajid, extended its reach to Afghan female students deprived of educational rights following recent governmental changes by commencing online lectures for their benefit. MWAP also played a crucial rule in drafting the MWIA multi stakeholder pledge in advancing inclusive vaccination coverage through UNHCR GoFH forum. A ‘Brain Gain’ project has also been initiated by MWAP that seeks to register Pakistan’s foreign female faculty members, inviting them to collaborate internationally, fostering research and academic partnerships for mutual growth and knowledge exchange.

MWAP’s ambitious plans soon after its inauguration demonstrate a strong commitment to advancing its cause, offering a plethora of impactful projects and initiatives aligned with its vision for a ‘healthcare community where women health professionals can thrive as leaders and positive agents of change’.

Fig 1. The launching ceremony of Medical Women’s Association of Pakistan