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Tuesday, August 24, 1999 Published at 13:42 GMT 14:42 UK


World: South Asia

Pakistan tackles Y2K in health sector

The Aga Khan University and Hospital: Leading the Y2K campaign

The Pakistani Government's task force on the millennium bug has rapped the health sector over the knuckles for not taking Y2K seriously enough.

Bugtown UK
Bugworld
In an interview with BBC News Online, the Director of the official Pakistan Computer Bureau (PCB), Chaudhary Zafar, said he had tried to explain the gravity of the problem to a meeting of health professionals on Monday.

Only one representative from the four provinces turned up to the meeting at the Health Ministry in the capital, Islamabad.


[ image: X-ray machines could be affected]
X-ray machines could be affected
"It is true that the extent of computerisation in Pakistan is less than America," said Mr Zafar.

"But the chips and embedded systems are there, especially in diagnostic equipment in hospitals, such as CAT scans and X-ray machines."

The PCB task force was set up to ensure that "all critical systems" in both government and the business community are "Y2K-ready".

The PCB Website concedes that "some business managers and administrators still do not fully appreciate the complexity of the problem and the seriousness of the consequences that can result from lack of Y2K compliance".

Some good news

Mr Zafar told BBC News Online, however, that there were signs of a more positive response from health officials.


[ image: Lecturers have been spreading the word about Y2K]
Lecturers have been spreading the word about Y2K
"They have created a task force to compile an inventory of computers and prepare guidelines for hospitals, clinics and labs," he said. "It will definitely be ready by October."

He quoted one senior ministry official as saying he was "scared about the situation".

The latest drive will be led by the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) in Islamabad and the Aga Khan University Medical College in Karachi, Mr Zafar said.

The PCB has organised a series of seminars across the country in recent months to spread its campaign message.

The bureau's Director-General, Dr Ijaz Khawaja, has been addressing one such seminar in Karachi.



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Pakistan Computer Bureau

BBC Millennium Bug Information

US Senate Committee on Y2K

Aga Khan University Medical College, Karachi


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