Dr. Anum Rahman |
I am a doctor and every day I treat people suffering from life-threatening to common diseases. Occasionally, I fail to save someone from dying while many times, I am able to see my patients recovered, healthy, and kicking over time.
There have been cases where my treatment, reinforced by costly medicines, has saved young and old lives; there have been instances when my best efforts have failed to keep patients alive. That is what life is. There have, however, been certain instances when innocent people died just because of their attendants’ inability to afford the costly medicines. These deaths grieve me and I feel the world killed them and the whole world is guilty of letting them go.
I believe doctors’ attention and medicines can heal the wounds but poverty can be a hindrance to their recovery route.
Being familiar to patients’ financial miseries, I have launched a ‘help-the-patients’ campaign with my own sources and friends’ help.
What inspired me to work for the poor patients?
The journey started last year in the summer when one day, while at work, I noticed a patient of Hepatitis C, reluctant to go for monthly interferons. When I dug into the issue, I found the patient was also suffering from chronic poverty. I decided to help the patient. I invited my friends and colleagues to share the pain. The response was riveting. Money started pouring in. I, with my friends, set up a stall at a local college funfair event and collected Rs 51,000. Many people offered to sponsor the patient.
Since then, we have helped more than 200 patients visiting the Peshawar hospitals.
The element of philanthropy, generosity, and empathy is in abundance, and the only thing which they need is transparency, clarity, and trust. Following these principles, I have gained the trust of a group of over 50 people, who are ready to help the needy patients.
The government does not, and cannot, help all poor patients. Those who can afford, ought to help the poor because money is not everything. The greatest form of wealth is a human connection and human interaction. It’s one of most influential currencies in the world. We never know if the next great is a homeless sick, waiting on the streets, to be recognized. If we don’t help these people, we may never see the great value that some could bring to making our world a better place.
Whenever I come across a patient in need of money for their treatment, I get an estimate of the treatment and share it with friends on social media.
Every religion in the world asks its believers to help those in need. People can help us if they know any deserving patient whose disease is treatable, for whom we can provide a plan to get treated. They can help us raise funds from their respective communities and can take such steps so that others may get inspired. 40 percent of all deaths are preventable and Pakistan ranks 111th, out of 169 countries, on maternal and 184th on prenatal mortality, and 10 percent of the world’s child deaths under five years are in Pakistan.
The data is horrible. So is the cost of medical treatment.
Not all treatments are expensive but most of them are, and it varies from person to person, from what socio-economic status they belong to. For some, millions do not matter, and for many, even a rupee matters a lot.
Though I have helped so many patients, I have regrets which often make me restless and sleepless.
One such incident was of a young man, around 28 years old, with road accident injuries who was admitted to the ICU. He was on the ventilator as he was not breathing properly. With the passage of time, the attendant asked the hospital to wean off the ventilator as they were no more able to pay the daily rent and that patient died on the way back home.
How come I couldn’t save that life?
In my professional life, I have broken so many stereotypes. I would love to see my other brothers and sisters to join the humanitarian work.
If I can do it, you can do it too. We all can do it!
Dr. Anum Rahman is a graduate of Peshawar Medical College. She is a Medical Officer at RHC Sheikhjana, Swabi. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Global Village Space’s editorial policy.