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March 2010, Volume 60, Issue 3

My Experience With JPMA

Dr. Fatema Jawad - Editor-in-Chief, JPMA, Karachi.


It was a Saturday afternoon in the year 1975, the month probably was June, when I went to PMA House to pay my membership fee. I was a young doctor full of energy and recently returned from Germany and I had saved enough to get a Life membership. I was taken to Dr. Mir Rahman Ali Hashmi who was the General Secretary of PMA and was sitting in the room which still has the round table. The atmosphere was cigarette smoke and I wanted to run out as soon as possible as the smoke was disturbing me. Dr. Hashmi took my cheque, gave me a receipt but instead of letting me go, he lead me by my hand to another room slightly on the back side. There were three people sitting there with Dr. Sarwar Zuberi in the centre. He introduced me to her and told her to not let me go as I would provide very good assistance to the journal. From that day onwards I have been linked to the JPMA. I came to know that she was the Editor of JPMA.
I was initially asked to write an editorial on some aspect of diabetes, as thatwas my subject. It made me very nervous although I had been writing earlier. This was an exam. I worked very hard and when I took it in after a week, Dr. Zuberi read it in a very serious manner ( I thought it would be rejected), and said, "Child, you write well". I felt relaxed and started working there every Saturday afternoon. Since then I have been with JPMA in all capacities. Right from keeping records in registers, when we had no computers, to writing letters to authors, technically editing articles and re-writing articles to correct the language and grammar. This went on eventually to more responsible tasks as taking policy decisions and appointing and terminating staff members when necessary.
There was a lot of learning which went fast because there were few hands. Dr. Zuberi was a hard worker and made others also work hard. She taught me many aspects of running a journal successfully. It was not a class room lecture, but one had to learn from what one observed in the manner she took decisions and talked to the concerned people. She was a big help to the authors when needed and that was a secret of her success. I had the privilege of picking up all the good and essential techniques to run the journal more efficiently after her sudden departure in March, 2004.
I have gradually grown up over the time, fulfilling my responsibilities, which has taken up a lot of my time and energy. But I feel good because I have given the best part of myself for improving an already best publication of the country. I also feel happy that I have been able to train and impart my experience to junior colleagues and students who will one day run the journal.
Very rightly quoted by the famous American poet, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow:
"Give what you have. To someone, it may be better than you dare to think".
The office is bigger with more equipment. The number of submissions has increased many folds, which has made the journal more voluminous and prolonged the lead time for publication. Answering every mail has become our tradition which has improved the relationship with our authors and reviewers. The JPMA website is another pride for us because it is accessed from around the world.
The members of the editorial board are helpful and fulfill their responsibilities, without which this Herculean task could not have been done successfully. The office staff work hard and no task is left over for tomorrow. Sub-editor, a new part time post for the last two years has proved to be of a great assistance. Students come in voluntarily and perform all sorts of odd jobs related to the journal. They have taken out statistics of various types and followed up files besides doing technical review for language.
After being with JPMA for a period of 35 years, it has become an integral part of my life. I would like to see it grow further. I extend my thanks to all who have worked with the journal in the past and to those who are still there. May GOD grant more success to JPMA.

Journal of the Pakistan Medical Association has agreed to receive and publish manuscripts in accordance with the principles of the following committees: