A 40-year journey

By Zubeida Mustafa

siut9THIS week the Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplantation (SIUT) is holding an international symposium to celebrate 40 years of its existence.

The logo designed for the occasion sums up its philosophy: “Every human being has the right to access healthcare irrespective of caste, colour or religious belief, free with dignity.” At SIUT you actually see this happening.

For long, it was the dream of its founder, Dr Adibul Hasan Rizvi, to create a nucleus that would evolve into an equitable and inclusive healthcare system that would be accessible to all. Continue reading “A 40-year journey”

Give the gift of life

By Zubeida Mustafa

HAS the illicit organ trade that gave Pakistan such a bad name in the world of medicine made a comeback? We do know that for about a year after the Transplantation of Human Organs and Tissues Act was adopted in 2010 there was a lull and we were celebrating the end of this crime against humanity in our country. But one cannot be sure about that now.

Today reports trickle in that the clandestine sale of human organs is thriving. The scale of the operation is not known but the exploitation of the poor remains unabated.

With such a reputation, it was not really surprising when five days after the bombing of the All Saints Church in Peshawar last month, a website, Agenzia Fides, that has been described as the news agency of the Vatican, carried a shocking report linking the incident with the problem of organ trafficking. Continue reading “Give the gift of life”

Fabricating history

By Zubeida Mustafa

THE SIUT’s Centre for Biomedical Ethics and Culture (CBEC) holds interesting forums periodically where renowned scholars are invited to address the members. Since ethics is a wide-ranging subject the thought-provoking speeches on a variety of subjects delivered there provide the audience some issues to chew upon.

In July, Dr Arifa Syeda Zahra, who teaches history in a Lahore college, was a guest of the CBEC and the point she drove home very forcefully and convincingly was that those who destroy history do it with the purpose of erasing the collective memory of a people. The idea behind this act of vandalism is to pre-empt change, which Dr Arifa Zahra describes as the most difficult process in individuals and societies. Continue reading “Fabricating history”

Kudos to SIUT, for ‘making the impossible possible’

(Karachi) Glowing and touching tributes were heaped on the Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplantation (SIUT) Director, Dr Adeebul Hassan Rizvi, and international award winning journalist Zubeida Mustafa, the former for having rendered yeoman’s service to the sick, the needy and the underprivileged across the length and breadth of the country, and the latter for having brought these achievements on record through her book, “The SIUT story: making the ‘impossible’ possible”.

The occasion was the launch of Mustafa’s above-noted book at the Mohatta Palace Friday evening.

Ghazi Salahuddin, noted journalist and columnist, recalled the time when Dr Adeebul Hassan Rizvi was a student leader and paid him tribute for not having let his idealism wane and for remaining true to his ideals for the betterment of society.

By Anil Datta

Karachi

Glowing and touching tributes were heaped on the Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplantation (SIUT) Director, Dr Adeebul Hassan Rizvi, and international award winning journalist Zubeida Mustafa, the former for having rendered yeoman’s service to the sick, the needy and the underprivileged across the length and breadth of the country, and the latter for having brought these achievements on record through her book, “The SIUT story: making the ‘impossible’ possible”.

The occasion was the launch of Mustafa’s above-noted book at the Mohatta Palace Friday evening.

6-15-2013_183766_l_akbGhazi Salahuddin, noted journalist and columnist, recalled the time when Dr Adeebul Hassan Rizvi was a student leader and paid him tribute for not having let his idealism wane and for remaining true to his ideals for the betterment of society.

“There’s lots of talk in our society about human dignity but in actual practice, there is none. We are a terribly class-riddled society, utterly apathetic to the travails and needs of our fellowmen. Dr Rizvi’s devotion to human dignity is so very evident in his institution. The SIUT’s stress on human dignity is not based on charity. Rather it is based on the natural rights of all human beings”, said Ghazi Salahuddin.

Having been her colleague for a long time, he praised Zubeida Mustafa and said that Zubeida had introduced a totally new research-oriented approach to journalism, something that hitherto had not been there. This, he said, made all the information so very profound and authentic.

Former Commissioner, Karachi Divisions, Shafiqur Rehman Piracha, in his very touching and emotional tribute to Dr Rizvi, talked about the “divine madness” of Dr Rizvi that had made the inception of an institution as altruistic as the SIUT possible where human beings were accorded their natural right to things that could make life a pleasurable experience for them. He said that everyone was treated with dignity at the SIUT without having to pay for it.

In a tribute to Rizvi’s altruistic simplicity, Piracha narrated how there was a concerted effort by the country’s most powerful segment of the bureaucracy to induce Rizvi to accept the post of federal health minister and what a hard time Rizvi had warding them off till they gave it up. He narrated how even these days, Rizvi travelled by train once a fortnight to Sukkur and its environs along with his medical team to perform surgeries and transplants absolutely free of cost.

He lauded Mrs Mustafa for having authored such a book on a subject as vital as healthcare and set the record straight for posterity.

Dr Adeeb Rizvi, acknowledging the accolades, and in his tribute to Zubeida Mustafa, recalled his first encounter with her and narrated how she was constantly grilling him with the questions: “How will you render such advanced medical care for free?” “How will you carry out dialysis for free?” and said that he was always hard put for a ready answer. “Ultimately, we made up and Zubeida joined us in our tissue transplantation campaign”, he said.

Zubeida Mustafa, acknowledging all the tributes, thanked the Support Trust (one of the sponsors of the book launch) for their cooperation in her painstaking venture.

“I wanted everyone to know that there are as many good people in our society and good works being done and that our society is not just bloodshed and killing”, she said.

The SIUT, she said, was not a charity organization but one where all humans got their rights with dignity. “That’s what I wanted to convey”, she said. She went on to state that all citizens had a right to education and healthcare and even though today’s liberal economics had turned things upside down, the SIUT still abided by its noble philosophy.

Kishwar Zehra, a thriving businessperson and a committed social worker who devotes of her time for voluntary work in the institute, lauded the most selfless service to society by Dr Rizvi and praised Zubeida Mustafa’s journalistic acumen in putting the story together for posterity.

Nusrat Ali Khan and Hassan Jameel, trustees of the Support Trust, outlined the aims and objectives of the Trust which, in a nutshell, could be summed up as publicizing all the work being done on a voluntary basis in various walks of life in the country and augmenting the mission of altruistic organizations. Nusrat Ali Khan proposed that copies of Mustafa’s book be sent to all diplomatic missions in the country and to all Pakistani diplomatic missions overseas to disseminate knowledge about the reservoir of selfless and noble individuals in our society.

Noted TV journalist compered the function and lauded Zubeida’s press crusade against the deficiencies in our healthcare and social systems.

Source: The News

The SIUT Story — Making the ‘Impossible’ Possible launched

KARACHI, June 14: “I was only following my emotions but she had the backing of research and proper data before asking me to explain how exactly I intended to offer free treatment to my patients. I was at a loss,” recalled Dr Adibul Hasan Rizvi at the launch of The SIUT Story — Making the ‘Impossible’ Possible while referring to its author Zubeida Mustafa at the Mohatta Palace Museum here on Friday.

“When we started our free dialysis work, she was back on the request of her editor at Dawn newspaper, Ahmad Ali Khan sahib, firing more questions that I didn’t have the answers to,” he shared.

By Shazia Hasan

guest-contributorKARACHI, June 14: “I was only following my emotions but she had the backing of research and proper data before asking me to explain how exactly I intended to offer free treatment to my patients. I was at a loss,” recalled Dr Adibul Hasan Rizvi at the launch of The SIUT Story — Making the ‘Impossible’ Possible while referring to its author Zubeida Mustafa at the Mohatta Palace Museum here on Friday.

“When we started our free dialysis work, she was back on the request of her editor at Dawn newspaper, Ahmad Ali Khan sahib, firing more questions that I didn’t have the answers to,” he shared.

“Our first kidney transplant was done quietly. We kept it from the media and when she found out, she was mad at us for being so secretive,” he laughed, adding that then it was Mrs Mustafa herself who also helped guide them on ethical things and how to tackle the issue of tissue transplantation, etc.

“Thank you for writing this book, which immortalises our philosophy that every human being has the right to healthcare and dignity,” Dr Rizvi said.

Senior journalist Ghazi Salahuddin said that he knows Dr Rizvi from the time when he was a young student at DJ Science College actively involved in students’ union. “He still believes in the dreams he had back then,” he said.

Praising the author of the book, he said that Mrs Mustafa came to Dawn from an academic background. “Not just this book but all her well thought out writings over the years are the product of extensive research and data collection,” he said.

“It is great that she could do this for SIUT now. The book is like a revolution in a society where there is no value of life leave alone the concept of human dignity,” he added.

Former Karachi commissioner Shafiq Paracha called Dr Rizvi’s passion to help people gain health regardless of their being rich or poor or belonging to any religion or belief “Divine Madness”.

He narrated an incident from former President Pervez Musharraf’s time when Dr Rizvi’s name came up for health minister and the doctor was determined to make the government officials drop the idea. “He took us on a round of the hospital trying to explain how much he was needed there only until one of us understood that it wouldn’t be wise to spoil one kind of good to start another,” said Mr Paracha.

“Dr Rizvi is that island of hope which balances our society,” he added.

About the author, he said that he was grateful to her for introducing us to the people who make the “impossible possible”.

Finally, Mrs Mustafa said that in Karachi where losing lives had become a common occurrence there was the Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplantation that is dedicated to saving lives. “It gives us hope. It had to be celebrated,” she commented.

She said, “I am glad that I wrote this book now after doing so much research on this place. The research I did over the years has helped settle all my doubts about its running. It is not just any charity hospital. It is a model hospital and the philosophy behind it can help build other such institutions.

“Being part of the public sector, there is also no element of commercialism attached to it. The treatment offered at the SIUT boasts foreign standards. The technology brought here from the West is also adjusted to local needs. It is laudable that they started from eight beds and have become what they are today through need-based extensions.

“The experts at the SIUT were just normal people who received proper training before putting it to good use. Foreign experts come here as well to train the doctors here. They also treat the patients at the hospital. It is compassion of the people working here that has raised the value of humanity at SIUT. But this team works so well because it has a great leader,” she said gesturing towards Dr Rizvi.

Meanwhile, it was suggested that an Urdu edition of the book also be brought out so that it can reach a bigger readership. Mrs Mustafa said that she would consider the suggestion.

Source: Dawn

Invisibility of mothers

By Zubeida Mustafa

AS a new government enters the corridors of power in Sindh it will find itself empowered with an innovative and sensible document that lays down the gender guidelines for official policies in the province. It was a smart move on the part of the Sindh Women Development Department to launch its Provincial Policy for Women Empowerment two days before the elections.

The event was timely because such moves pertaining to women’s rights require a lot of support and backing from official quarters in Pakistan. This support was fully available. It could not have been otherwise considering that the women and human rights’ portfolio in the interim government was held by an inveterate champion of woman’s rights, Anis Haroon, whose role in the women’s movement has been phenomenal. Continue reading “Invisibility of mothers”

Times of paradoxes

By Zubeida Mustafa

WHAT a world of contrasts we live in. We have heartwarming tidings entwined with horrible news. We have compassionate souls struggling to save lives alongside brutes who blow the life out of people.

Then we have a government that is an intriguing compound of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Its conscience is not moved when it fails to provide security to the citizens while the police force guards the privileged of the land leaving ordinary folks vulnerable to acts of terror. But this very same government becomes the first to steer the Transplantation of Human Organs and Tissues Act 2013 (Thota) through the Sindh Assembly unanimously — an act of great humanity. Continue reading “Times of paradoxes”

Making deals with the devil

By Zubeida Mustafa

IN his recently published memoirs, Jagtay Lamhay, Justice Haziqul Khairi, retired chief of the Federal Sharia Court, recalls his judgment upholding the transplantation law in Pakistan. The Transplantation of Human Organs and Tissues Ordinance (2007) had been challenged by some surgeons on the ground that it violated the Sharia.

Justice Khairi writes that the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) country chief in Pakistan, Dr Khalif Bille, described this as a “great” judgment. Soon thereafter the two Houses of parliament passed unanimously an act by the same name in 2010 to replace the ordinance. On that occasion the Assembly gave a standing ovation to Prof Adibul Hasan Rizvi, the director of the Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplantation and the person responsible for spearheading the 15-year campaign for legislation to regulate organ transplantation and check organ trade in Pakistan. The Transplantation of Human Organs and Tissues Act (THOTA) was acknowledged by WHO as the best law on this subject in the world. Continue reading “Making deals with the devil”

Remembering Naveed Anwar

By Zubeida Mustafa

NOT many may recall Naveed Anwar today because when he slipped into the valley of death 14 years ago he went silently without making a splash in the media.

At a time when the Transplant Society of Pakistan is launching its deceased organ donation campaign we should be paying homage to Naveed and the four others* who followed his pioneering trail. They conclusively established that our society is capable of unbelievable generosity and care, even in the bad times we live in. Continue reading “Remembering Naveed Anwar”

Organ racket again

By Zubeida Mustafa
Source: Dawn

A REPORT in Dawn last week brought to light the unearthing of an illegal organ transplant centre in Lahore and the arrest of a doctor and six paramedics. A Pakistani donor and an Indonesian who was to receive the kidney were also present at the improvised clinic in a private house when the police raid took place.

This is not shocking because reports of the resurgence of the organ trade have resurfaced lately. Recently a doctor from the Dubai Medical College had reported that Continue reading “Organ racket again”