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Charity Is At The ACME In Pakistan

Charity Is At The ACME In Pakistan

PAKISTAN & GULF ECONOMIST went to explore how children from underprivileged family background (who cannot afford two meals a day) get free of cost cancer treatment and get education simultaneously in the school made within the premises of the hospital. When asked, PAGE was told that the children suffering from cancer get treated and are educated in the Indus Hospital so that these children should not lag behind in education compared to the children of their same age. These children are provided with free books, quality teachers etc. PAGE heard touching stories of the cancer-patients aged less than 11 years at the Indus Hospital Korangi Karachi.

It must be noted that Pakistan is one of the countries in the world where quality free of cost medical facilities are offered to everyone regardless of their status, income level, religion, ethnicity etc.

PAGE had conversation with Professor S. Zafar Zaidi, Senior Executive Director the Indus Health Network, Dr Muhammad Fareeduddin, Head of Department Pediatrics and Ms Aneela Abbas from Pediatrics Psychosocial Department of the Indus Hospital.

Excerpts of the conversation with Professor S. Zafar Zaidi are as follows:

Our main objective is to make Pakistan healthy. It is not only treating patients but also preventing diseases. We do focus on the capacity building by training the individuals so that they may further contribute effectively. We started off with only one hospital and now by the grace of God, we are running 11 hospitals out of which four hospitals are managed by our own management for which we raise funds whereas six have been given to us by Punjab government and one by Sindh government. We manage these hospitals of Punjab and Sindh governments. They give us the funds, however, we manage these 7 hospitals: systems and controls are of the Indus Hospital. We are running hospitals in Lahore, Multan and Muzafargarh whereas Sindh government has given us one hospital in Badin. There is one under-construction 500-bed hospital in Lahore to be operational by March 2019 donated to us by donors. This hospital would be run, managed and owned by the Indus Hospital. We are in the process of getting one hospital in Islamkote Tharparkar being built by Engro to be given to the Indus Hospital to run. We have also got land in Peshawar and Gwadar for one hospital each in both the cities to be built in the future through donations. The Indus Hospital also runs a malaria program both in KPK and Balochistan and we run TB program throughout Pakistan.

We are very active in terms of prevention and eradication of diseases. Capacity building is one of our main objectives. We are almost in the final stages of starting the construction of a university in Karachi within the premises of the Indus Hospital, Korangi Campus. We have a nursing school and paramedic training college. We are opening more such entities for training since quality human resource is of core significance. We have paperless environment and everything is computerized.

The Indus Health Network (IHN) is providing absolutely free and quality treatment to millions of deserving patients since 2007 through its countrywide network of hospitals in Pakistan. It started with one hospital in Karachi and now the Indus Health Network is managing 11 full-service hospitals nationwide. The Indus Health Network also has an extensive outreach program covering 41 districts of Pakistan for treatment of TB and Malaria. With the vision to change the paradigm of healthcare delivery system in Pakistan, IHN has plans to expand its network to make quality healthcare accessible to every Pakistani. 67,000,000 patients have been treated since its inception. 1,292,394 patients were treated during 2016-17 and 70% of the patients are eligible for Zakat.

IHN Financed and Managed Facilities are as follows:


IHN Managed Facilities:

Dr Muhammad Fareeduddin, Head of Department Pediatrics told PAGE

that around one thousand patients every day visit the emergency at the Indus Hospital and around 3,000 patients visit the clinics and OPD on daily basis. Majority of the patients come from the slum/poor localities of Karachi and other cities of Sindh, KPK, Balochistan, Punjab etc. Whether it is the treatment of one rupee or one million rupees, it is free of cost for every patient. Since this is the largest pediatric cancer hospital, we get patients from across Pakistan and even from Afghanistan. Let me tell you that lots of patients visit us because of quality consultants/doctors since we have one of the best human resource.

PAGE had conversation with Ms Aneela Abbas and the excerpts are as follows:

The Psychosocial department was established at the Indus Hospital, Pediatric Complex (formerly Children Cancer Hospital) in January 2013. The department is the first of its kind, pioneering psychosocial care for cancer patients in Pakistan. Our program is based on the premise that treatment doesn’t end with merely the physical but extends to the psychological, we aim to cater to every aspect of a child’s need, be it psychological, emotional, spiritual, social or educational.

The Department provides a multitude of services including:

Psycho Oncology Services (PS): Distress management to ensure that the quality of life is not heavily impacted. Psychological and neuropsychological testing is carried out by trained professionals for identified patients. Staff counseling and training is also included into this specialty.

Child Life Services (CLS): Helps to build awareness of the impact of chronic illness, painful procedures, and hospital stays with children and their families, while helping reduce the distress associated with radiation, surgeries, amputations and tests. Different events such as Independence Show, puppet show, storytelling, art and craft activities, etc. are organized on a regular basis in order to boost the morale of the patients and health professionals.

Rehabilitation Services (RS): Helps the patients to achieve normalcy in their routine through educational and physical activities such as exercises to increase strength, and address difficulties in school work especially after a prolonged leave from school, and surgical procedures.

Complimentary Therapy Services (CTS): Alternative modes of therapy like soft touch, massage, reiki, laughter therapy and guided imagery are used to reduce physical and psychological distress by promoting relaxation.

Spiritual Counseling (SC): The religious beliefs and needs are taken into account and a Spiritual Counselor attempts to alleviate the spiritual distress of the patients and their families through spiritual guidance and exploration.

End of life counseling (ELC): End of life care starts as soon as the patient is put on supportive care and the patient and his family taken into counseling by our trained ELC counselor who works with a multi-disciplinary team including doctors, nurses, dietitian, rehab specialist, spiritual counselor, child life specialist and complementary therapist. Grief and bereavement counseling are part of this process.

Health Care Coordination (HCC): A Health Care Coordinator provides coordination and gives support to POD, other healthcare staff, patients and various organizations.

Social Services Officers (SSO): A social services officer screens patients for basic distress signs and for any basic needs that the family is unable or has difficulty in providing such as food, housing, etc. These are then referred to the relevant departments for need based care.

Psychiatric Evaluation and Intervention: A visiting Psychiatrist in on call (skype and onsite visits) to see to any children who show signs of psychosis, or depression or any other mental health issue, which requires psychiatric intervention.

Research: All projects that are initiated are first carried out as a pilot study and are researched and then incorporated into the hospital system. POD is also endeavoring to undertake multiple research projects pertaining to cancer care and continually attempts to find new and innovative ways to make the cancer journey and hospital stay easier for parents and children alike.

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