It was very nostalgic to visit the hallways and corridors of my alma mater, Nishtar Medical College, earlier this month, the mother institution where young physicians were groomed, nurtured and disciplined in the basics of medicine. I reminisced my days and years spent attending classes and preparing for professional examinations. Students were still seen sporadically, despite it being summer vacations. Elated feelings over my college campus were rather short lived and quickly subdued by the overcrowded hallways and wards of the adjoining Nishtar hospital. Attendant families sat in groups on bare floors in the hallways waiting to visit their loved ones. It was extremely hot and humid, not just because of the Multani summer but also because of the exhaust from the air-conditioners in the corridors. In addition these hallways were punctuated with small puddles of water dripping from the water coolers and air-conditioners. 

During the inauguration ceremony of the Neonatal unit at Nishtar Hospital, I was impressed to find out that the pediatric unit’s staff has been funding a pediatric dialysis service out of their own pockets. This was very encouraging news to NANA that local colleagues are equally dedicated to improve patient care. But, by the same token, it was heart breaking to see a poor layman father standing there using a bag-valve mask himself to ventilate his child. Physicians and paramedical staff are equally short and resources are meager. I want to salute the current staff who is really working hard to provide essential medical care despite being under funded and short of manpower. 

My visit was mainly as a representative of Nishtar Alumni of North America (NANA). NANA has been always concerned with improving the conditions of patient care and education at Nishtar. Lately we have funded several projects ranging from $10,000 to $100,000, including endoscopy and bronchoscopy units. NANA has also been awarding a total of 50 need based scholarships yearly to 10 students from every class. However, our alumni has been especially reinvigorated since Dr. Aslam Nasir has declared “jihad” for Nishtar renovation in 2017. In our recent alumni meeting, NANA has therefore pledged 1 million dollars for a cardiac Cath-Lab (angiography suite) and renovation of all operation theaters at Nishtar. I want to acknowledge that local philanthropists have been amazingly generous and now are partnering with us to re-establish the glory of Nishtar both in education and patient-care. We pray that Allah bless those who are striving to make a difference at Nishtar every day, no matter how big or small. We are all committed for Nishtar 2.0. 

NAJEEB UR REHMAN,  

Sayre, PA, August 11.