December 25 holds great significance due to Christmas celebrations. However, for every Pakistani, the date has another unique aura as it marks the birth of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, an exceptional leader who despite severe hardships, never gave up the struggle for a separate homeland for the subcontinent Muslims. In pursuance of this great dream, Quaid’s health deteriorated with each passing day, but his zeal and commitment for this cause is something which the whole world acknowledge, and for this reason historians globally rank him among all-time great leaders of the world.
The 142nd birth anniversary of Quaid this year again was celebrated with great enthusiasm, and once again, the nation witnessed same repeated speeches from different political leaders about remembering Quaid’s vision and how his footsteps must be followed. Nevertheless, this time something different happened! Something positive and strange as well, since the nation is not tuned to initiatives like this.
With the inauguration of Pakistan Kidney & Liver Institute and Research Center (PKLI & RC) first phase in Lahore, the Punjab government gave the whole nation a beautiful gift on this lovely day. This state of the art medical facility is purposely designed to provide modern-day treatment to the people, mainly the underprivileged who cannot afford proper liver and kidney treatment.
Significance of this amazing health facility can be related with these alarming facts that apart from cancer, the kidney, bladder, urinary and liver diseases in recent years have become extremely dreadful ailments in Pakistan, and contemporary studies have shown that 40% of all diseases are directly or indirectly associated with kidney and bladder problems. Adding more to it are the Hepatitis B and C, which have transformed into an epidemic. At present, more than 10 million people in Pakistan are suffering from the viral Hepatitis C, and over 70% of them live in Punjab. More than five million people in Pakistan have Hepatitis B, and over 1.2 million patients need liver transplant with 300,000 among them in dire need.
What is great about PKLI & RC is that it is not merely a hospital, as it is following a complete Hepatitis Prevention and Treatment Clinic (HPTC) programme, under which PKLI & RC has planned to set up 25 satellite clinics across Punjab to cater the growing number of hepatitis patients in these areas. Six clinics of them have already been operational, and more than 1,000 hepatitis patients so far have been provided the required treatment. Then, it is the first hospital in Pakistan to be built on Joint Commission International (JCI) standards, which are the international perimeters laid for quality working of a medical institution.
Another remarkable thing about this brilliant step is the selection and hiring of some of the best trained and highly qualified liver specialists and consultants from USA, UK, Pakistan and other countries. One of the salient features of PKLI & RC is that it will also act as a training and development facility for young doctors and medical staff, which will be extremely beneficial in ending barrier to the increasing brain drain.
The Punjab government especially Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif must be given credit for initiating a project, which is not confined to Punjab as people from all over Pakistan can benefit from this great hospital, and now people would not have to visit China or India to have liver transplant as PKLI & RC has brought this facility to their own country. After this concrete initiative, it looks that a void has majorly been filled since December 25 has never been utilized in its true spirit. CM Shahbaz inaugurating PKLI & RC on this historic day is a message to every political person that they should sincerely work to fulfill Quaid’s dream, which is making Pakistan a prosperous state.