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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Role of medical student and resident doctors' representative organizations in health policy process in Pakistan Chaudhry, Rabia Mushtaq


Introduction: This research explores the impact of Medical Student and Resident Doctors' (MSaRD) organizations on the health policy process in Pakistan, focusing on their adaptability and advocacy in a politically constrained environment. It explores how these entities have navigated the ban on student politics and leveraged digital platforms to influence health policy, highlighting their evolution from traditional activism to digital engagement. Methods: Adopting a mixed-methods approach, the study combines qualitative content analysis with natural language processing of diverse data types collected from social media. Qualitative content analysis was used for an interpretative examination of the content to identify underlying themes and patterns, while NLP, a computational technique, was applied to systematically process and analyze the entire volumes of textual data for patterns and trends to validate the qualitative analysis. The investigation covered two primary research questions: the organizational landscape of MSaRD in Pakistan and their framing of their opposition to the National Licensing Examination (NLE). Data collection encompassed social media posts, policy documents, media interviews, news articles, images and videos in Urdu and English. Results: Findings reveal a dynamic advocacy landscape where MSaRD organizations actively contribute to health policy discourse. Despite legal restrictions, these organizations utilize digital media to mobilize, advocate, and influence health reforms. Their strategic framing of the NLE, demonstrates their significant role in shaping public and policy discourse, reflecting their growing influence in Pakistan's health sector. Conclusion: MSaRD organizations in Pakistan have emerged as pivotal players in the health policy arena, attempting to bridge the gap between medical professionals and policy formulation. Their transition to digital advocacy platforms signifies a broader shift in health policy advocacy, underscoring the importance of recognizing and integrating these groups into the formal health policy process. The study advocates for a reevaluation of political engagement policies in healthcare, suggesting that MSaRD's contributions could lead to more inclusive and representative health policy outcomes.

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