“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: ‘What are you doing for others?”

–Martin Luther King, as quoted in The Words of Martin Luther King – 2011

Even at the age of 79,Dr Adeeb Hassan Rizvi has not given up serving his homeland and stands as a glaring example of humanity. He was born in 1938 in Karachi and received medical education while living in the boarding hostels in the 1950s. The deteriorating condition of the hospitals and the patients being abused for not being able to pay for medicine, left a deep impact on him. He went to Britain for a fellowship in surgery and worked at hospitals over there for a decade. Inspired by their free healthcare system, he returned to Pakistan in 1971 and joined Civil Hospital Karachi as an assistant professor of urology. Instead of setting up a private hospital for a more lucrative profession, Dr Rizvi remained committed to working in the public sector to “help the common man”. With the support from only a limited network of friends and well-wishers, Dr Rizvi was able to set up a small urology ward and imported second hand dialysis machines from Britain. Without the government’s help, he continued providing latest services to the public for free. By late 1970s, Dr Rizvi realised the need for organ transplant since the dialysis machines were not enough to cater to the growing number of patients. He went back to Britain to brush up on the latest technology. After returning in 1980s, he secretly carried out experiments in a lab with a team of trained doctors and in December, 1985, performed Pakistan’s first successful kidney transplant. It was only then when this news broke out, that media and government ministers began to acknowledge Dr Rizvi’s selfless devotion and celebrated the transplant as a national achievement. Dr Rizvi proudly recalls in an interview, “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.”