Midland Doctors: Building Hope for Humanity
Midland Doctors Association UK is a charitable organisation adept in providing medical care and relief efforts in Pakistan on a large scale, with international standards of care
In 2005, a devastating earthquake struck northern Pakistan, taking 87,000 lives in its six-minute lifespan, and leaving four million others injured and homeless. Formed in response to the catastrophe, Midland Doctors was initially a team of medical professionals and business leaders in the UK that had a vision of building a hospital in the Tandali village of Muzaffarabad, in the heart of the area devastated by the earthquake, and a logistically inaccessible region from anywhere in the country. Having worked in the region for a week following the tragedy, conducting 134 major surgeries in less than a week, the doctors realised there was an unfulfilled need for healthcare in the region.
In 2006, Midland Doctors were able to begin construction of an earthquake-resistant hospital, supported by the benevolence of architects, equipment suppliers, medical professionals, donors and the local population. Since its inauguration in 2013, The Midland Doctors Medical Institute (MDMI) in Pakistan has treated over 250,000 patients free of charge, in the British NHS model and to that standard.
These incredible medical professionals from around the world volunteer their time, and travel to the institute in Pakistan, paying for their own flights to perform assessments, procedures and operations at the hospital.
Focus on quality
Founded on the principle of Zakat and operating with the objective of 'Building Hope for Humanity', MDMI provides eligible patients in Pakistan with medical care on a charitable basis, and undertakes disaster relief efforts on a large scale. The hospital provides inpatient and outpatient care, with various departments enabled with the latest technology and equipment for assessing and treating patients. It also serves as a training facility for local healthcare professionals, with regular visits from international experts from the UAE, UK, USA, Canada and Europe, who train the staff. The departments at MDMI include radiology, physiotherapy and rehabilitation, haematology, paediatric, dental, cardiac, surgical and women's health. The surgical strategy combines over 65 years of expertise from trustees offering laparoscopic surgery to allow for faster healing times, and continues to expand with more international surgeons volunteering to improve the effectiveness of the programme.
"We are so humbled by the donors who have supported the Midland Doctors vision providing humanitarian healthcare to the poor, destitute, children, orphans and the elderly. Our presence in the International Humanitarian City and the continued support from the UAE community has been such a blessing," said Dr Asrar Rashid, Consultant Paediatric Intensivist, The Royal NMC, Abu Dhabi, and Executive Trustee and Managing Director, Midland Doctors.
Continued efforts and relief projects
In addition to its action during the 2005 earthquake and continual efforts to provide routine medical care to the population in and around Muzaffarabad, Midland Doctors have undertaken other significant projects, in managing humanitarian crises and in alleviating poverty in the region. Some of the most notable are relief efforts during the 2010 Pakistan floods and 2019 Mirpur earthquake.
In 2012, Midland Doctors inaugurated the Nur Goth Village project in Pakistan, built and supported by Midland Doctors, Pakistan Medical Association and the Edhi Foundation. The village community was a two-year project, undertaken in response to the destructive floods of 2010, which destroyed the lives of many, in particular the poor and vulnerable. With the help of donors, the village and houses were constructed and released to 100 poor families affected by the floods.
After this project, when yet another disastrous earthquake struck northern Pakistan in 2019, Midland Doctors were immediate to respond with equipment and relief measures that were stocked-up and kept ready, following prior experience of arranging these for earthquake victims. Various measures were undertaken to arrange immediate medical attention and maintain supplies of resources to the site.
Midland's next big venture, in partnership with the Angus Lawson Memorial Trust, was a new concept paediatric emergency assessment unit, with a team of professionals operating on a 24/7 basis, that now caters to the many cases that require immediate medical attention. This allows for treatment of children, mitigating the need for long term admission.
Another laudable project undertaken is the MDMI Mac Bevan Nutrition Program, in partnership with Canadians for Global Care and the Mac Bevan Trust, which has been significant in overcoming the barriers to providing paediatric health services at MDMI. In this way, they have been able to save the lives of children with Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM).
In addition to the latest medical technology, the institute also focuses on quality training of professionals through volunteer schemes such as Project Flying Angels, that invites nurses of all specialties to contribute by volunteering their time and services to provide training to the local workforce. Nadia Sarwar, a registered nurse from the UK and volunteer for Project Flying Angels said, "I was surprised by the level of care provided to patients at MDMI. I was able to help save the life of a child on my recent trip."
Midland Doctors was registered in the UAE in 2019, operating at International Humanitarian City and supported by a group of medical professionals from the UK as well as those from some healthcare institutes in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
MDMI's latest addition is the Women's Health Clinic, initiated by Dr Sadia Malick, Lead Consultant Gynaecologist at Corniche Hospital, Abu Dhabi. The clinic's aims are to identify and treat health issues faced by women in Pakistan, in a culturally sensitive manner. "I am privileged to be a part of Midland Doctors and thank the Almighty for putting me in this position. Having been trained in advanced setting in hysteroscopy and outpatient gynaecology, I am able to give back to my country by training fellow consultants and junior trainees, which will ultimately benefit the women of Pakistan," said Dr Malick.
The Midland Doctors' Vice Chairman Dr Javed Ahmad Raza has shared the outcomes of his bariatric and advanced laparoscopic work at many conferences including as a guest lecturer at the annual Arab Health Conference in Dubai. He has served as director for advanced laparoscopic courses and has conducted live transmission of his own laparoscopic surgery cases.
"To provide key-hole surgery on a free and Zakat basis at MDMI has allowed patients to receive vital treatment, and given me an opportunity to train local surgeons. MDMI is also leading through showcasing a highly capable hospital with vital services such as the Children's Emergency Assessment unit, a first for AJK and Pakistan," he said.
Dr Yasir Akmal, staff physician at the Cleveland Clinic, volunteered to perform keyhole and minimally invasive surgeries for patients at MDMI. Additionally, The Cleveland Clinic, Abu Dhabi, has been a kind supporter of the efforts of Midland Doctors and the development of the various departments at MDMI.
UAE Annual Fundraising Dinner
In January 2019, Midland Doctors conducted their inaugural fundraising dinner with the support of Dr Tazyeen Jahan Faisal, Specialist Obstetrician and Gynaecologist in Dubai.
The leading members of the medical and business community in the UAE were welcomed by the chairman of Midland Doctors, Dr Syed Yousuf Iftikhar, consultant Surgeon and Associate Professor, Royal Derby Hospital, UK. The efforts of Midland Doctors till date were shared, and this received a warm response from the guests.
Keeping with the theme of charity, the executive teams at Midland Doctors' future plans for the institute are based around humanitarian health, with the aims of enhancing contribution to the Orphan Care Program, providing them with dental care and other healthcare requirements. They hope to involve more institutions in the UAE that are interested in contributing to the growth of the departments at MDMI. They plan to support the hospital towards having the capacity to operate 24/7, which has so far been pending due to the absence of funds. When the hospital is operational 24/7, they believe that it will be able to cater to more needs of the population and provide lifesaving treatments.
Being a charitable organisation led by a team of volunteers, Midland Doctors' investments come only through kind donations by donors. Without those who contribute in this manner, projects would not be functional. In the first year of being established in the UAE, Midland Doctors have raised close to Dh300,000, through the fundraising event and direct donations to the official bank account of Midland Doctors. The finances of various charitable organisations at the International Humanitarian City are closely monitored by the authorities, in order to ensure the allocation of funds are put towards trustworthy causes.
To donate towards supporting the charitable causes undertaken by Midland Doctors Medical Institute, or for any queries, please call 0586910297 or visit www.midlanddoctors.org.
Midland Doctors Medical Institute, Tandali, Muzaffarabad, Pakistan
Dr Syed Yousuf Iftikhar, Consultant Surgeon, Associate Professor, UK, Chairman, Midland Doctors
Dr Javed Ahmad Raza, Consultant Surgeon Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, Vice-Chairman, Midland Doctors
Dr Sadia Malick, Lead Consultant Gynaecologist, Corniche Hospital, Abu Dhabi
Dr Asrar Rashid, Consultant Paediatric Intensivist, The Royal NMC, Abu Dhabi, and Executive Trustee, Managing Director, Midland Doctors
Dr Tazyeen Jahan Faisal, Specialist Obstetrician and Gynaecologist in Dubai
Dr Yasir Akmal, Staff Physician at The Cleveland Clinic