Al Shifa Trust Eye Hospital Rawalpindi

Volume 16, Number 36 (Supplement)                                                        News Letter November 2005 - Inside

Special Supplement For Earthquake Victims


Dear Friends

Pakistan is passing through testing times. We are facing the worst –ever crisis in our history. But our morale is high. World has witnessed the way Pakistani nation has risen to help its people in distress. Al-Shifa Trust Eye Hospital has not remained behind at this juncture. With the help of Pak Red Crescent Society (PRCS) and Islamic Help Charity of UK, we are doing our best within our limited resources. Rescue efforts may be over, but rehabilitation will go on for a long period. The job is colossal; we believe it is doable. It is a mission which has got to be accomplished. And to accomplish it, we will constantly need your cooperation; support in the form of financial help; individual or collective participation in rehabilitation of a child, a widow, reconstruction of a house, a school, or a hospital. In this special supplement of our Newsletter you will see a brief review of what we are doing in this hour of trial and what we plan to do.

Lt. Gen. (Retd.) Jahan Dad Khan
President Al-Shifa Trust &

Chairman Pakistan Red Crescent Society


Tragedy Hits Pakistan

October 8, 2005 was a day of mourning in Pakistan. An earthquake of the intensity of 7.6 on Richter scale hit northern Pakistan including Kashmir. There had never been an example of such severe earthquake during the last one hundred years in this area. The damage to life and property has been colossal. Highly conservative figures put the death toll at over 80,000 (20,000 have been children) with 3.3 million people affected. Over half million families are shelter less and totally deprived of all they had. 70% of the houses are badly damaged or destroyed.

Those who have survived, face the threat of harsh winter with serious health risks especially to children, permanent disability, loss of job and disturbed mental health. The type of injuries are mostly crush injuries resulting in complicated multiple fractures and extensive loss of soft tissues threatening the loss of limbs. Many a times limb amputations have to be carried out in order to save the life.

In the long-run, Pakistan faces the huge task of re-building multiple new cities in Azad Kashmir and Hazara division of NWFP, rehabilitation of hundreds of thousands of people in terms of job provision, artificial limb fitting, putting in place measures to minimize the loss of life and property in the event of any such mishap in future.  Thousands of children have gone parentless, and they will need lot of support from community and government for long time to come.

No government can cope with catastrophe of such a magnitude alone. The whole nation has rallied around their country folks in distress. Every one is doing its best, yet lot needs to be done.  International NGOs, governments and UN has also supported, but needs are huge and resources are few.


Al-Shifa Trust rises to the occasion

The geographic location of Al-Shifa Trust Eye Hospital Rawalpindi has assumed greater importance in face of this national tragedy. It is just 90 km south east to the epicenter of October 8 earthquake. It has been catering to the eye care needs of all these areas which have been devastated by earthquake. 60% of our eye patients come from Mansehra, Abbotabad, Balakot, Battagram, Muzaffarabad, Bagh, Rawalakot, and adjoining Kashmir and NWFP areas. 

In this hour of distress, that we are only eye care service providers, has not in any way limited our role towards serving the national cause. Where there is a will, there is a way. In collaboration with Pakistan Red Crescent Society and Islamic Help Charity, we have undertaken following measures: -

  • Al-Shifa Trust Eye Hospital Rawalpindi has provided a 100-bed fully furnished ward and 6-table fully furnished operation theatre for earthquake victims.
  • This facility is manned by over two dozens specialist staff from UK. A complete trauma team, it includes plastic surgeons, orthopedic surgeons, vascular surgeons, anesthetists, accident and emergency specialist nurses, physiotherapists and psychologists.
  • This Earthquake Trauma Management Unit (ETMU) is busy in management of complicated injuries which cannot be tackled easily in an ordinary general hospital set-up. 25-30 operations are being conducted daily.
  • Orthopedic and plastic surgical instruments have specially been purchased by Al-Shifa for this purpose.
  • Al-Shifa is also providing most of the operating room nursing and support staff for this purpose. This has been made possible by bringing in additional staff from our Sukkur and Kohat hospitals.

  • Physiotherapy and emotional support services are also being provided in the ward.
  • A fully furnished accommodation block has been allocated for relatives/attendants of admitted patients.
  • High-protein food is also being provided on regular basis.
  • For child patients, special TV and play room has been set up within the ward to help relieve the emotional stress they are suffering from.

So far, over 150 patients have been treated: Operations include wide range of fracture fixation, skin grafting and other advanced procedures like heel formation etc.

We specially acknowledge the support provided by Islamic Help Charity, UK in organizing the visits of UK Surgical teams.

Role of Young Friends of Al-Shifa (YFA) needs special mention. They are constantly providing the much needed emotional support to children through various social support programs. They have been very active in relief work carried out by Halal-e-Ahmer (PRCS) like helping in transport and distribution of relief goods in earthquake hit remote areas and donation of blood etc. YFA has set an example worth emulating for all of us.


Future Plan

The process of rehabilitation is long and tedious one. It needs perseverance, commitment and support for years to come. Most of the patients need multiple surgeries. Each patient will need a follow-up, repeated dressings etc. for at least 8-12 weeks. 15% of patients have undergone amputations of limbs. They will need artificial limbs. Limb-fitting in itself is a long process and there are very few centers in the area which have the expertise. Almost 90% of these patients have no place to go. They will need shelter. Health, schooling, orphanage etc. are some of the issues which need to be addressed by community in general.

 In collaboration with Pakistan Red Crescent Society, our Rehabilitation Plan includes the following: - 

  1. Establishment of Children Village where orphans and widows will be settled on the pattern of SOS villages. Provision of all facilities for their health, professional and skill development, education and employment will be part of this re-settlement process.
  2. Reconstruction of a degree college at Chenari (Chakothi sector of District Muzaffarabad)
  3. Reconstruction of hospitals.


A saga, a chronicle, which started with disaster,
helplessness and despair, has now evolved 

into a spirit of sacrifice, selflessness and hope.

Arbaz from Athmuqam, Muzaffarabad was rescued 8 days after he was scalded by hot milk which spilled over him at the time of earthquake. His whole chest skin was lost. Before surgery he looked down at himself and sighed” I wanted to become a doctor, but alas no more”. A heroic plastic operation saved him from disability and despair. After the surgery, Arbaz is happy and we believe that his dreams will come true.


Fatima from Mansehra was at school when she was injured. Her left leg has since been operated. Smile has never faded from her face and God willing, it will never fade.

20 years Sadaqat (L) and 6 years Shamim never spoke or smiled to anyone for first two weeks. Efforts at their physical and emotional rehabilitation have finally brought smiles. Smiles, which brought tears to many eyes.

40% of the affected are children. They have not only suffered physically but are passing through tremendous emotional stress. At Al-Shifa PRCS ward, YFA has done tremendous job by providing emotional support. Here they are busy in drawing and sketching.

Atika, (left corner) 16 years old student from Chenari was hit by blackboard in her school. Most of her classmates have died. Miraculously she survived. After recovering from her back injury, she has become a member of YFA and now is busy in helping the nursing staff. Even in suffering, she has kept her humor alive “We were to appear in exam two days after, but earthquake saved us”. In the picture she is helping to set-up a recreational corner for children by YFA.

After children, females are the biggest casualty. She badly injured, Munawwar Bibi(R) has to feed her child as well as there is no one left in her family to look after. Young Saima Mushtaq (L) is not sure of her future. She remained buried for 2 days. She is recovering fast after undergoing external fixation for her left leg fracture. But she has nowhere to go, no shelter.

Zaiver Jan (L) from Muzaffarabad survived the jolts, but her two daughters, 7 years Sumera and 10 year Nazish were badly injured. Both have undergone multiple operations successfully.  Riaz (R) is holding her injured child and his older son. After a complex multi-stage operation, the limbs of the child have been saved. He is the only one left to look after his children as his wife did not survive the earthquake. Both Zaiver and Riaz are content, but their worried looks point towards a greater struggle ahead.

Cute and small; Sheharyar and Atif, unaware of their future hardships, feel at home due to being properly looked after at Al-Shifa Trust- PRCS hospital

In this hour of trial, people from across the continents, regardless of their nationality, race, color or religion have volunteered their skills, time and resources. Multiple teams consisting of leading experts in the field of plastic surgery, orthopedics, anesthesia, accident and emergency nursing, physiotherapy and emotional support services are at work round the clock at Al-Shifa Trust Eye Hospital. Thanks a lot, dear friends! We are indebted indeed.

President of International Federation of Red Cross paid rich tributes to the services of PRCS, Al-Shifa and Islamic Help during his visit.
            Healers at work    


President Al-Shifa Trust consoling Dilshad from Muzaffarabad (L). With right leg amputated and her brother still missing, she needs lot of support.

A young friend offering Eid gifts to Fatima (R). Fatima also wants to become a doctor. Injury, shocks or aftershocks has not dampened her spirits.

Planning for future: Pak Red Crescent Chairman with President of Kuwait Red crescent society (L). Kuwait Ambassador is also seen in the picture (extreme right).

Al-Shifa Nursing Staff and doctors (R) are providing round the clock patient care in the wards. President of Al-Shifa specially appreciated their efforts.

Mr. Tahir Zafar from USA, specially flown in to be with his people in distress. On behalf of children in USA, he offered Eid greetings to affected children at Al-Shifa.

What Future Beholds for Them?
15-20% of injured have lost their limbs. An estimated 15,000 persons will be in need of artificial limbs and occupational rehabilitation. Children are the worst sufferers. Lets work together to make these pretty faces shine forever.

Al Shifa Trust
Al-Shifa Trust Eye Hospital Rawalpindi
Pakistan Institute for Ophthalmology
Al-Shifa Center For Community Ophthalmology
Al-Shifa Trust Eye Hospital Sukkur
Donating To Al-Shifa



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