A US-based Islamic charitable organisation, Helping Hand for Relief and Development (HHRD), has announced plans to establish a neurology hospital and rehabilitation centre in Karachi at a cost of Rs1 billion, terming it a gift from American Muslims to the people of Karachi and Sindh.
“We are spending $10 million on the establishment of a state-of-the-art rehabilitation centre and hospital for the treatment of neurological diseases in Karachi. This centre is a gift for the people of Karachi and the rest of Sindh from Muslims in America,” said Dr Mohsin Ansari, an eminent pediatrician practicing in United States and HHRD chairman, while speaking at the introduction ceremony of the Karachi Institute of Neurological Diseases (KIND) and Rehabilitation Centre on Wednesday.
“The Helping Hand for Relief and Development is the overseas charity wing of the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), which is carrying out relief and development work in 51 countries of the world and the charitable organization spends USD 500 million annually on alleviating sufferings of ailing humanity,” he said.
“We annually spend Rs1.5 billion in Pakistan on charitable work, especially in the field of health, education, nutrition, safe drinking water and in some others sectors. This time, we have decided to establish a centre for rehabilitation of the disabled persons in Karachi to make them useful citizens of the society,” Dr Ansari said.
With the funding from the US-based charity, he said, a building had already been purchased near Superhighway Karachi while construction of a multi-story building having a hospital for the treatment of neurological disorders, a comprehensive rehabilitation centre for men, women, children and elderly patients, and a teaching college would start by January 2018.
Dr Ansari said American Muslims had first started relief and development work in an organised manner after the October 2005 earthquake when many of them, especially doctors reached Kashmir and NWFP and started treating patients with injuries, broken bones, open wounds and lost limbs. “Since then, the charity has spent dozens of billions of rupees on charitable works throughout the country,” he added.
“One of our rehabilitation centre, established after 2005 earthquake is now a six-storied full-fledged rehab centre in Mansehra where people from the entire area are being treated for their disabilities and are being trained to live independent and useful lives in the society,” he said. “We are helping people to live like normal human beings, play games, earn their livelihood and get education the way normal people do”, he maintained.
He said many of the US-based Pakistani Muslims, including him, were originally from Karachi, who studied at educational institutions in the metropolitan and now they felt that it was the right time to repay the city which enabled them to become successful persons.
“We are not here to beg for money. We have arrived here to spend the money which Allah Almighty has given us to ease the sufferings of our Muslim brethren,” he maintained.
KIND Project Director and eminent neurologist Prof Dr Wasey Shakir gave a detailed presentation on the project, saying it was being started with the financial support from American Muslims through the charitable organisation. “But this project will also be generating money from the local supporters and philanthropists,” he added.
“According to government estimates, there are around five million disabled persons in Pakistan, who are living a miserable life as there is not a single comprehensive rehabilitation centre in the country on the pattern of modern world. Similarly, there is no comprehensive neurological diseases centre in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh”, he claimed.
He said the hospital would start functioning by 2019 and within next few years, “it would be the only and best centre for the disabled persons of not only Pakistan but for the entire region as it would be providing rehabilitation services to children, men and women, and elderly unable to live a normal life due to their disabilities.”
In his presentation, Dr Shakir informed in detail about the sufferings of people who become disabled due to stroke, accidents and trauma, spinal cord injuries, congenital defects in children and other diseases.
“Such such people are in millions and their number is growing with each passing day. They are considered a liability not only by their families but also by the society,” he regretted.
“Our mission is to prevent and treat people having neurological disorders and to make disabled persons useful citizens by providing them latest reintegration facilities under one roof”, he maintained.
Speaking on the occasion, Al-Khidmat Welfare Society chief Hafiz Naeemur Rehman announced that their organisation would also support the HHRD in establishing the rehabilitation centre, saying their trained volunteers would assist the US-based charity in serving the ailing humanity in Karachi and the entire country.
The ceremony was also addressed by senior doctors and neurologists, lawmakers and philanthropists who vowed to support the endeavour and assured their financial and technical support in making the project a success.