Healthcare in Pakistan

SIUT is a philosophy of life, says Dr Rizvi
* Says SIUT operates free of cost on 3 patients daily and on every organ transplant Rs 200,000 are spent
By Amar Guriro, Daily Times, September 8, 2009

KARACHI: Pakistan's leading organ plantation expert and founder of Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplantation (SIUT) Dr Adib Rizvi has said that SIUT is not just a building but a philosophy of life.

"Healthcare is the fundamental right of every newborn and not charity," said Dr Rizvi. "The difference should be clear and not like the education sector where blue and yellow schools are separate, which is not fair."

A doctor is a friend of the patient and should guide him till he gets well.

"A doctor's duty is not limited to diagnose the disease and prescribe the medication, but he or she must follow the patient in the treatment process, as everyone knows that majority of the patients in Pakistan are unable to buy medicines," he said.

Addressing an Iftar party in his honour at Karachi Press Club organised by SUPPORT organisation, Dr Rizvi said that most of the people are unable to pay the specialists, even a general practitioner (GP) charges about Rs 300 per patient that is also unaffordable for majority of the people.

"When there is nothing to eat, vaccination is a luxury," said Dr Rizvi. He quoted an example that recently a man came from Mardan with stones in both kidneys and when he started treating the man, he found amulets painted on his back and on inquiry, the patient revealed that he was unable to go through the treatments, so he went to a local faith healer to get these amulets painted on the hopes that he may get well.

While addressing the ceremony at KPC, former student leader and Democratic Students Federation (DSF) activist, Dr Rizvi recalled the past that he regularly used to visit KPC to distribute DSF press releases. Talking to this scribe, Dr Rizvi recalled the past that how he got the idea to establish such a mass level institute, he said that thanks to the flood that had given him an idea to establish such an institute. "It was 1973 when torrential floods hit Sindh and I was visiting district Thatta with some friends, when in village Chohar Jamali, under a bayan tree I found a mother scattering channas in the mud before her hungry children and when I asked why she is doing so, she said that her children are hungry for the past three days and if she handed the channas over to them they would eat them at once and ask for more so she was scattering them in the mud so that it may take time for them to search and eat. After learning about that incident I came to know that life is not just a bed of roses," he recalled.

SIUT, the largest public sector health organisation in the country, provides free, comprehensive and modern medical care in kidney diseases and transplantation of different human organs. After being given autonomy in 1991, SIUT has treated over 1 million patients and spent over a billion rupees on curing patients. SIUT treats 650,000 patients annually, majority of these patients arrive from rural areas and all of them are treated free of cost at SIUT.

"With the passage of time, the healthcare facilities have increased along with the patients and diseases. In the past we used to operate on a single patient every month, but now we operate on three patients everyday and on every organ transplant case we have to spend Rs 200,000," he said.

SIUT started working in 1974 and the ever first organ transplant was held in 1980 and since then SIUT has conducted 2,800 cases of organ transplant. "In SIUT everyday 38 operations are conducted out of which two to three operations are of organ transplants," he said.

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