SHIZA VISITED THE HOSPITAL IN FEBRUARY 18 AND THIS IS WHAT SHE SAID,
“In February 2018, I visited the MDAUK (Midlands Doctors Association UK) Medical Institute in Muzaffarabad. It has taken me a while to pen my thoughts because it is such a rarity to encounter a genuine humanitarian endeavour such as this one. And yet, not far from the remaining devastation of the 2005 earthquake stands the MDAUK charitable hospital; one that embodies an unshakeable and unconditional sense of hope and solidarity in this largely forgotten region.
Credit must be given to Dr.Iftikhar. He has acquired vitally important knowledge through his years of service to the NHS in the U.K and used it as a blueprint in a country where the largely privatised health-sector has long been described as “abysmal” and/or “exclusionary.” In stark contrast, the Medical Institute upholds and preserves the fundamental human right to health without drawing distinctions on the basis of, among other things, economic or social conditions. In fact, it is difficult to ignore the conscious or unconscious symbolic significance of a low, wide, two-storeyed building as a non-hierarchical space where everyone can access the same high-quality and dignified levels of healthcare. The message is clear: everyone is welcome here.
Credit must also be given to the staff of the hospital. They are generous, kind and the truest reflection of Muzaffarabad, its strength, resilience and its hospitality. They will go above and beyond in their care of patients and visitors. Indeed, they too embody the spirit and humanity of the MDAUK Medical Institute and ensure that the experience for all involved is one filled with dignity and respect for human life.
I am grateful to Dr. Iftikhar, Bilal and everyone who has worked towards building a medical centre in Muzaffarabad that takes a rights-based approach to healthcare and that protects and promotes human dignity and equality.
Above all, I am inspired and I am hopeful for the incredible people of Muzaffarabad who have long suffered more than their fair share of hardhsip, devastation, neglect and pain.