ISLAMABAD-While the sacred profession of medicine has become a money-making business and doctors in many cases are acting like butchers, yet there are exceptions making the profession a passion for those who want to serve the humanity.

Al-Khidmat foundation Raazi hospital Chandni-Chowk Rawalpindi, is one such exception. The hospital provides its services at negligible fees to those who can afford, while the underprivileged who cannot pay a penny are treated free of cost. The targeted audience of this unique health service model is the lower and the middle class of the society.

The hospital started its journey in 2006 and until today, it has been successful in treating over 2.8 million patients. It has also spent over Rs2 billion while treating the patients since its establishment.

There are several features which make Raazi hospital unique from any other welfare hospital. The features include only female staff for wards like C-section where men are prohibited from entering unless in the case of emergency. As mentioned above, specialist consultants are available who charge meagre amount Rs380 for consultation. The hospital has the latest American technology in their labs and offers its services free of cost to those who cannot pay. Unlike most of the public welfare hospitals, Al-Khidmat Foundation Raazi Hospital has standardised technology and labs. It has the best specialist consultants from Rawalpindi and Islamabad who are the devoted members of this unique set-up.

Apart from consultant fees, the charges and fees of lab tests and other services are even lower than half of what is being charged in normal hospitals of Islamabad and Rawalpindi. For example, average charges of ultrasound in a normal hospital is over Rs3,000, while Raazi hospital charges 1,500 for this test and it gets further discounted or totally free in case of a poor patient.

The C-section charges for total treatment is Rs25,000 which is 30 per cent of what is being charged everywhere for the same service.

Moreover, the hospital runs under such mechanism which leaves no profiteers. Funds which are generated from donations are used to treat patients who are poor and to fulfil other requirements of the hospital like new machinery or renovations. What is even more striking is the way they serve the poor patients who cannot even pay the minimal fees, are given a paid receipt so that no one could know that whether he is being treated free of cost or not which secures the self-respect of such patients in need.

A patient Jameel-ur-Rehman at Al-Khidmat Raazi Hospital stated, “I have come here numerous times.

The staff is very cooperative and the hospital provides a good environment and services to its patients.” He also stated that the charges of the doctors and other services were half or even less than what were being charged elsewhere. When this correspondent asked the patient why he preferred this hospital over other government and welfare hospitals, he replied, “government hospitals take a lot of waiting or delayed treatments which is agonising and at times one gets too tired and becomes hopeless, but this hospital offers quick services and patients are never delayed and treated on time.”

Head of Management Staff Abdul Hameed stated that the hospital had 50 beds now and would reach up to 80 after the formation of a new floor which was under construction. Briefing about the hospital’s services, he elaborated that their pharmacy provides medicine at 6 per cent discount and in the future, they are going to give a 15 per cent discount on each medicine in their pharmacies.

He also informed that the labs are charging 50 per cent lesser fees than other hospitals and machines and technology are latest and parallel to the reputed hospitals. According to him, the hospital greets around 1,100 patients daily out of which 700 above are lady patients.

In addition, he added that there are almost 35 specialist doctors available in the hospital with 15 different specialties. When asked about their staff recruitment, Abdul Hameed told that they had the same criteria for hiring staff which the government hospitals follow.

Specialists working in Al-Khidmat Raazi Hospital are mostly visiting-doctors serving as consultants, belonging to different other hospitals and institutions of the city.

When this correspondent asked the reason behind specialists or senior doctors who serve at this hospital at negligible fees, the medical specialist as well as the executive director of Al-Khidmat Raazi hospital said that the doctors here do not work for free, they charge minimal fees so that they get motivated and do not get lenient on their duty. He further elaborated that the doctors generate income from other hospitals, but here the difference is the moral satisfaction they get for serving humanity. He explained that the patients who cannot afford the treatment are treated at the expense of the welfare bank of Al-Khidmat hospital.

In a country like Pakistan where health care services have always been an issue for the people, especially the poor, Al-Khidmat Raazi Hospital can serve as an effective model. However, the hospital requires more donations and funds in order to expand and maintain their services.