By Shazia Hasan
KARACHI, June 14: “I was only following my emotions but she had the backing of research and proper data before asking me to explain how exactly I intended to offer free treatment to my patients. I was at a loss,” recalled Dr Adibul Hasan Rizvi at the launch of The SIUT Story — Making the ‘Impossible’ Possible while referring to its author Zubeida Mustafa at the Mohatta Palace Museum here on Friday.
“When we started our free dialysis work, she was back on the request of her editor at Dawn newspaper, Ahmad Ali Khan sahib, firing more questions that I didn’t have the answers to,” he shared.
“Our first kidney transplant was done quietly. We kept it from the media and when she found out, she was mad at us for being so secretive,” he laughed, adding that then it was Mrs Mustafa herself who also helped guide them on ethical things and how to tackle the issue of tissue transplantation, etc.
“Thank you for writing this book, which immortalises our philosophy that every human being has the right to healthcare and dignity,” Dr Rizvi said.
Senior journalist Ghazi Salahuddin said that he knows Dr Rizvi from the time when he was a young student at DJ Science College actively involved in students’ union. “He still believes in the dreams he had back then,” he said.
Praising the author of the book, he said that Mrs Mustafa came to Dawn from an academic background. “Not just this book but all her well thought out writings over the years are the product of extensive research and data collection,” he said.
“It is great that she could do this for SIUT now. The book is like a revolution in a society where there is no value of life leave alone the concept of human dignity,” he added.
Former Karachi commissioner Shafiq Paracha called Dr Rizvi’s passion to help people gain health regardless of their being rich or poor or belonging to any religion or belief “Divine Madness”.
He narrated an incident from former President Pervez Musharraf’s time when Dr Rizvi’s name came up for health minister and the doctor was determined to make the government officials drop the idea. “He took us on a round of the hospital trying to explain how much he was needed there only until one of us understood that it wouldn’t be wise to spoil one kind of good to start another,” said Mr Paracha.
“Dr Rizvi is that island of hope which balances our society,” he added.
About the author, he said that he was grateful to her for introducing us to the people who make the “impossible possible”.
Finally, Mrs Mustafa said that in Karachi where losing lives had become a common occurrence there was the Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplantation that is dedicated to saving lives. “It gives us hope. It had to be celebrated,” she commented.
She said, “I am glad that I wrote this book now after doing so much research on this place. The research I did over the years has helped settle all my doubts about its running. It is not just any charity hospital. It is a model hospital and the philosophy behind it can help build other such institutions.
“Being part of the public sector, there is also no element of commercialism attached to it. The treatment offered at the SIUT boasts foreign standards. The technology brought here from the West is also adjusted to local needs. It is laudable that they started from eight beds and have become what they are today through need-based extensions.
“The experts at the SIUT were just normal people who received proper training before putting it to good use. Foreign experts come here as well to train the doctors here. They also treat the patients at the hospital. It is compassion of the people working here that has raised the value of humanity at SIUT. But this team works so well because it has a great leader,” she said gesturing towards Dr Rizvi.
Meanwhile, it was suggested that an Urdu edition of the book also be brought out so that it can reach a bigger readership. Mrs Mustafa said that she would consider the suggestion.