Doctor all set to give back to his nation
Dubai - Dr Asjad Hameed will open the first-ever specialised diabetes centre in Pakistan, built at the cost of Dh25 million
Dr Asjad Hameed, a consultant of endocrinology and diabetes, has done what many have told him is the 'dream of a mad man.' But where there is a will, there is always a way, believes Dr Asjad, a Pakistani who is currently working at the Imperial College London Diabetes Centre (ICDL) in Abu Dhabi.
By December, he will be opening the first-ever specialised diabetes centre in Pakistan in Islamabad, built at the cost of Dh25 million (Pak Rs65million). "It shocks me that a huge Pakistani population - mostly the poor who cannot afford treatment - still cannot access quality treatment for the disease in Pakistan," he told Khaleej Times. "They do visit clinics and general practitioners but there is no specialised clinic under one roof."
It all started with an idea among three people - Dr Asjad and his two friends - who pooled in their savings to get the dream to take off. Soon, the sponsorship base increased to pool in the initial Dh1 million needed to start construction of the building in Islamabad.
"People started joining us and we then registered as a charity in the US, UK and with the Emirates Red Crescent in the UAE," he said.
Pakistan has lots of poor people with health issues who still are forced to spend money on treatments and medicines, he added. "When I came to the UAE, the country was ranked the second in the world with the highest number of diabetics, but now it is only the eighth or 10th in the world," said Dr Asjad. This is because of the good screening methods and efforts put in by the UAE government as well as their vision, he said. Every tenth person in Pakistan is diabetic. "And these are figures old studies." Research from India shows that there is a 20 per cent prevalence of the disease in the country and "we are not very different from them," he added.
"The knowledge and education levels are low. people do not know where to go for treatment that is why there are lots of kidney failures and eyesight issues due to diabetes," he said passionately. "This is what shocks me."
The Diabetes Centre is the first-ever project of Pakistan to be registered with UAE Red Crescent in 40 years. "They also sell tickets for us in the UAE," said Dr Asjad who came to the UAE in 2008. Also, 60 UAE-based families are supporting the project financially, including a few Emiratis. The five-floor building, to be ready by December, will be able to accommodate between 700 to 1,000 patients per day. Dr Asjad's wife, a doctor herself, already quit her job in the UAE and moved to Pakistan to overlook the construction and the subsequent daily operations. He also says that another centre will be inaugurated in June in Lahore and plans are on to expand later to Karachi and other cities.