A torchbearer for herbal products

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Rooh Afza Go was Hamdard's star launch in 2019
Rooh Afza Go was Hamdard's star launch in 2019

Hamdard Pakistan, best known for its Rooh Afza brand, integrates a culture of natural solutions and service to humanity. Excerpts from an interview with Fatema Munir Ahmed Sahiba, Managing Director and CEO of Hamdard Pakistan:

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Published: Mon 23 Mar 2020, 5:38 PM

Fatema Munir Ahmed Sahiba, Managing Director and CEO of Hamdard Pakistan

What is your vision for Hamdard?
My vision for Hamdard is the same as the vision of my grandfather Shaheed Hakim Mohammed Said, when he established Hamdard in Pakistan in 1948. To ensure the promotion of herbal medicine, health and education in the society and render services to humanity that will always be the main objectives of Hamdard Pakistan.
To elucidate these objectives, I would like to take you back to the last century when my great grandfather Hakim Hafiz Abdul Majeed had established Hamdard, Delhi in 1906 and set the following high aims and objectives of his legacy despite paucity of resources and gave it the beautiful name of "Hamdard", which means: 'A sympathiser and sharer in pain.'

Hamdard also stands to:
.    Preserve and promote the knowledge application of herbal medicines
.    Teach the principles of health, hygiene and medical science
.    Serve the humanity selflessly

Shaheed Hakim Mohammed Said gave Hamdard a new dimension by extending its scope, even to the extent that he was martyred in 1998 outside his clinic in Karachi to treat his patients, where he would always serve his people free of charge.

Hamdard, being the torch-bearer for herbal medicine (Tibb-i-Unani) after Hakim Saheb, took time but managed to rebrand itself about two years ago. The vision of Shaheed Hakim Said was very simple - that to revive and recognise alternative medicine, the medicine of our forefathers and bring it back to the subcontinent. After Hakim Saheb, his daughter Sadia Rashid, Chairperson of Hamdard Pakistan, and I wish to see Hamdard achieve its founder's vision. Indeed, it will be a long and difficult journey, but I believe we will succeed with flying colours by the grace and will of the Almighty.     

What is your view on the export market for Hamdard? Will the weaker Rupee help increase export?
Depreciation of the local currency always assists exporters as they earn more on same volume of exporting goods. However, it also increases the value of imports, which become more expensive. Thus, cost of doing business increases ultimately. I think what the government should do is to help exporters explore and highlight new markets. It is done through Free Trade Agreements, mutual agreements on enhancing bilateral trade.

Tell us about your new products
Hamdard Instant Joshanda is an herbal formulation for being beneficial for cold, cough, sore throat, nasal congestion, flu and influenza. It is a remedy of unani medicine, based on old prescriptions, proved to improve one's health. The product is 100% herbal, free from artificial elements and can be used as herbal tea. It can also be used to cure a chronic flu and fever. We have received a very positive response from our consumers.    

Hamdard Ispaghol Classic features the Ispaghol husk (Phylum husk), which contains natural, edible fibre that gives many health benefits, including constipation relief, helps treat diarrhoea, lowers blood sugar and cholesterol levels, aids in weight loss and is good for the heart. It is also an effective remedy for an upset stomach as it is a prebiotic.    
Rooh Afza Go was Hamdard's star launch in 2019, which we supplied in large quantities to Pakistan Airlines (PIA) for inflight passenger consumption during the Holy Month of Ramadan. Hamdard Pakistan had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on April 30, 2019 at the Hamdard Corporate Office at Bahria Town Tower, Karachi. Hamdard's chairperson Sadia Rashid, distinguished guests, staff, officials, airhostesses of PIA, Hamdard's directors, managers, staff, workers and I attended this ceremony along with our ex-Managing Director.  

Please tell us about your corporate philanthropy.
Hamdard Pakistan takes its corporate social responsibility (CSR) very seriously. Our Rooh Afza Heatwave Campaign is one prime example that is spread across the months of June and July in Lahore and Karachi to rescue citizens from sun strokes and other heat-related ailments. Our services were highly appreciated especially by the over populated areas and by the local governments.

We support the Burns Centre of Dr Ruth Pfau Karachi, specifically their Paediatric ICU. No one should be denied treatment due to lack of funds. Hamdard also supports Ahsan Trust. Sadia Rashid, Chairperson of Hamdard, and Dr Imran Usmani, President of Ahsan Trust, signed an MoU on behalf of their respective organisations. Ahsan Trust gives 'Qarz-i-husna' to the deserving students of secondary education for their higher education.

Hamdard's permanent philanthropic activities started right from the time of Shaheed Hakim Mohammed Said and continues even after his demise, for instance, the Hamdard Free Mobile Dispensaries provide health facilities to the poor and needy at their doorstep in the outskirts of every major city of the country; scholarships to widows, promising students and small schools; distribution of quilts and blankets in the winter season and rations during the holy month of Ramadan. Sadia Rashid is a great believer and champion of her father's cause and she has widened the scope of Hamdard's philanthropic activities.

Final words.

"If you're walking down the right path and you're willing to keep walking, eventually you'll make progress."
- Barack Obama
Pakistanis abroad and within the country should be proud of their brands and should promote them all over the world. Our founder's life's motto was 'Love Pakistan Build Pakistan' and this was, will and will always be our philosophy at Hamdard. To build Pakistan we, as a nation, should promote our culture, our brands and our heritage.

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