Doctor Adib Rizvi has been dubbed Pakistan’s ‘miracle’ doctor. This is not only due to the fact that he is the head and founder of one of Pakistan’s largest public health organisations, it is also due to his life-long dedication to providing, ‘free public health care with dignity.’
He maintains a striking and positive rapport with non-muslims, muslims, elderly and the young as he walks through the hospital checking on his patients.
The majority of his patients would have nowhere to turn if it was not for the free health care services he set up. The original hospital was a modest eight-bedded ward over forty years ago.
The hospital has seen an exponential expansion and has emerged as a world-class kidney disease centre in Pakistan. The hospital known as the Sindh Insitute of Urology and Transparent (SIUT) would not have been possible had Dr Rizvi not been so selflessly dedicated to his mission.
‘I saw people being abused for not being able to pay for treatment. I saw elderly women taking off their earrings and pawning them to pay for medicine.
People would beg for healthcare, but they would be demeaned. It was like people were required to pawn off their self-respect to get a service which I felt should have been their right as citizens in the first place’, explained Rizvi.
‘I was inspired by the National Health Service (NHS). It showed me that providing free healthcare was doable,’ he said. After completing his medical degree in Karachi, Dr Rizvi went to Britain for a fellowship in surgery, where he spent a decade working in hospitals.
In regards to facing resistance and opposition from privatised health care companies and the government, he responded, ‘As long as I didn’t ask them for any money, they were happy to let us get on with our work.’
Since the first successful kidney transplant in 1995, nearly 5,000 free organ transplants have been performed to date and 750 dialysis sessions on a daily basis.
‘We started with an eight-bed ward 40 years ago. Today, we have 800 beds. Back then, we used to have a small room in this hospital. Today, we have two multi-storey buildings and three more are being built’.
Dr Rizvi, who is pushing 70 and working round the clock with his team is faithfully optimistic about the future of the hospital, I have no doubt that long after I am gone, our next generation of doctors committed to serving the public will take this institution forward.’.