Pakistani doctors in America: Giving back to the community

Poet Fehmida Riaz with Dr Naseem Shekhani of NHF at the launch of the Urdu English Medical Dictionary in Karachi, Dec 31, 2010

Anyone interested in healthcare in Pakistan – check out and support National Health Forum (NHF), a registered tax-exempt organisation in America initiated by a group of Pakistani doctors, many of whom were activists with the progressive National Students Federation (NSF)in their student days.

Screengrab of NHF website

I know some of them personally and am inspired and moved by their dedication and the work they do. The causes they have taken up include maternal care, child cancer (working to build a children’s cancer hospital) and helping flood survivors in Pakistan through the Pakistan Medical Association. They also support non-profit organisations in USA in the healthcare and medical education sectors. I love that Dr Sher Shah is listed in their website as one of the ‘projects’ they support (if you don’t know who he is, you should. Look him up). Another project, and a great success, is the launch of the much-needed Medical Urdu-English Dictionary. The informative website includes links to PDFs of their reports). Also do check out and ‘like’ the NHF facebook page. :)

As winter sets in, flood survivors in Sindh need more help

In all the excitement about ‘memogate’, let’s remember to spare a thought — and some cash and other items — for the flood survivors of Pakistan. As winter sets in and the cold winds start to blow, they need our help more than ever. Here’s a note I’ve been meaning to post out for some time, information provided by friend and music lover Siraj Khan who personally vouches for the Pathfinders Welfare Organisation, a volunteer group doing flood relief work primarily in the Badin area of Sindh. “PWO is unique in many ways. Its team is made almost entirely of students from local medical colleges. Many are girls. There was one who even used to ride her brother’s motorbike for work, if other transport wasn’t available,” says Siraj. “PWO needs more visibility for its work and, of course, funds.”

Continue reading

Pakistan floods: Want to help?

Dr Geet Chainani in the field: NEED food, medicines, water, tents

Pakistan was still reeling from the devastating floods of last year when fresh disaster struck.

The situation is worse than reported,” messaged the journalist and activist Aslam Khwaja, back in Karachi after a recent five-day visit to six rain-hit districts of Sindh. Many others working in the affected areas have relayed similar obervations as they scramble to renew their efforts.

Young Doctors Assocation volunteer at Mirpurkhas relief camp: URGENTLY NEED MEDICINES

8.1 million people are homeless, with less than a quarter of them (approx 0.71 million) accommodated in about 3,000 makeshift relief camps set up by the Sindh Government. Conditions are appalling, with severe shortage of food, water and medical supplies. Some 370 people have died, hundreds more injured, and some 6.1 million acres of land and 1.5 million houses underwater or severely damaged, according to the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) of Pakistan. The estimated loss to the cotton crop is estimated at a staggering Rs 75 billion.

YOU CAN HELP by sending money and relief goods to the organization of your choice. The most urgent needs are: tents, food, clean water, medicine. Continue reading

General observations about Pakistan floods

Some general observations from the floods of 2010, which are sadly relevant again:

  • People affected by the floods (last year as well as now) were already among the poorest begin with although they do include some well-off farmers and trades-people too, in areas where there was already little access to education and healthcare.
  • The relief camps set up last year brought an unexpected silver lining in the opportunity to many flood affected people who had access to a doctor or a teacher – for the FIRST time in their lives – at the relief camps. This indicates the level of underdevelopment in Pakistan, the huge percentage of the population that lacks access to healthcare and education. Continue reading

Sindh floods – update and appeal from Sadiqa Salahuddin, IRC

Khairpur, Sept 2011. Photo courtesy: The News

For those looking for credible organisations to contribute to or work with, here’s information about Indus Resource Centre’s flood relief work in Sindh, based on an email update from Sadiqa Salahuddin, the well known educationist who runs IRC. They have been working with girls’ education in the Khairpur area of Sindh for many years; Sadiqa Apa is also a very dear friend (IRC contact details are at the end of this post). The most urgent need is for dry food – basic essentials for ten days for a family of six cost around Rs 3,000 (details below). During the Eid holidays, she spent six days in Khairpur and then in Hyderabad while her colleagues assessed the situation in Khairpur and Mirpurkhas districts. Immediately after Eid, she went to Badin (which was then accessible by road from Karachi). She writes: Continue reading

Sindh Flood Appeal – Indus Foundation Trust

Sindh. And much of Balochistan. Submerged.

From Sherry Rehman, The Indus Foundation Trust: Sindh Flood Appeal (Scroll down for donation options and details):

Dear All,

We are thankful to all the donors who had supported IFT during 2010 Flood relief activites.

Again, the Indus Foundation Trust is taking subsistence survival packs to various locations in Sindh. Floods caused by heavy monsoon rains have devastated communities in the Sindh provinces. Continue reading

Floods in Sindh: Please help PMA to help the affected

Children in Badin amidst rising flood waters. Image courtesy: Newsline

Urgent appeal from the Pakistan Medical Association:

The recent and continuing rain crisis has caused extensive disruption in upper and Lower Sindh lashing through Sukkur, Rohri, Pannu Aqil, Gotki, Mirpur Mathelo, Daharki, Khairpur, Thul, Jacobabad, Kashmore, Kandhkot, Shikarpur, Khanpur, Garhi Yasin, and Naushero feroz.

The ongoing torrential rains have affected 27 tehsils, more than 9,000 villages, 2.5 million acres of land and more than two million people, 85 casualties. More than 0.5 million houses have been damaged due to flash floods and downpours.

PMA has started relief and medical support in Badin,TMK, Mirpurkhas and Nawabshah. We need dry food supplies, tents, clean drinking water or water treatment tablets, medicines, powdered milk, clothes and other miscellaneous items of daily need would be useful.

Please donate items, or give a cheque in favour of “PMA” – send to: PMA House, Garden Road, Karachi, Pakistan; Phone (+92-21)-3223-1534 and (+92-21) 21-3225-1159

Dr Samrina Hashmi
President PMA Sindh

Urgent appeal to support flood affectees in Pakistan

Villagers struggle to save their livestock, Badin, 2011. Photo: courtesy Dawn

Over a million people have been displaced by current floods in Pakistan. Please read the urgent appeal below from friend Abdulrahman (aka AR or Abbey), Founder & Coordinator, SA Relief, aiming to provide flood affected people at a camp in Badin with cooked meals for the next 15 days (email pkfloods@sarelief.com). Just 25 USD will feed a family of four for one week. Read on, and please help: Continue reading

Gawaahi (Witness): testimonies of abuse, survival, resistance

Happy to get this email from fellow journalist and activist Naveen Naqvi:
“I am happy to report that our site, Gawaahi.com is now online. Gawaahi.com aims to archive digital stories of abuse, survival and resistance.
If you are interested in how we came about, please visit our site and read Gawaahi.com – our story.
You can find more information on our mission and team in our About page. If you see the page titled Our Partners, you will see the wonderful support we have received even before launch.”
Great going (and I love this visual by Zaina Anwar)!

Donate a breeding goat to a flood refugee this Eid

Not everyone was able to save their precious goats (AFP: Arif Ali)

The flood waters are receding but the needs of the flood refugees and survivors remains enormous. Blogger Farrukh Siddiqui summarises the main needs in this post  How can We Help flood victims in Pakistan

Here’s another way to help them: donate a live breeding goat to help them re-start their lives in a sustainable way.

At least two organisations I know of are working on this novel idea: Pakistan Animal Welfare Society and Sadiqa Salahuddin’s Indus Resource Centre (IRC) which has a long history of working on education (especially of girls) in the Khairpur area of Sindh.
Continue reading

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