APPNA Responds to Swat Displaced Families Crisis
By M. Shahid Yousuf, MD
Photo by courtesy of Social Welfare Society of Khyber Medical
APPNA which has just finished the Baluchistan Earthquake Project 2008 in which it provided medical and humanitarian care has once again been summoned to deliver on its main pledge to provide humanitarian relief to the internally displaced families of Swat.
APPNA’s Social Welfare and Disaster Relief Committee (SWDRC) is charged with the duties of charity and medical relief. During 2005 Earthquake of Azad Kashmir and parts of Pakistan its budget reached $ 1.8 million in cash alone while the cost of medical and surgical services and material goods has not yet been computed but could have easily run into hundreds of thousands of dollars.
As the news of the human tragedy in Swat was unfolding, members of SWDRC began receiving requests for funds to help the families in distress in various encampments around Peshawar and other areas. Dr. Aisha Zafar, Chair of SWDRC, convened a teleconference on May 7th, 2009 during which a decision to provide relief to IDPs of Swat was made.
An appeal was issued by SWDRC to the membership to donate to this cause. Within 24 hours of issuing this appeal some $ 30,000 was raised by the members of APPNA. At this time we have reached a total of $ 70,000 from our membership alone.
A subcommittee of SWRDC consisting of Drs. Rubina Inayat (FL) Dr. Shahid Sheikh (OH) and Dr. Talha Siddiqi (VA) began drawing up plans. Preliminary enquiries with Khyber Medical College were initiated by Dr. Arshad Maqbool. Since the project largely required medical help of the local medical college, other APPNA members were recruited: Dr. Mohammad Taqi, President Khyber Medical College Association of North America (KMCANA); Dr. Arshad Rehan, President-elect KMCANA; Dr. Naeem Khan (Social Welfare Committee KMCANA); Dr. Mujeeb Jan and Dr. Fauzia Wali Khan, President of New England Chapter (APPNA) to facilitate liaison between APPNA and relief operations. Additionally, various chapters of APPNA are already committed to raising funds APPKI (Association of Pakistani Physicians of Kentucky and Indiana) has already contributed $ 10,000.
Our partners in Pakistan include Bilquis Edhi Foundation, Khyber Medical College, Swat Medical Students Association of Khyber Medical College, Social Welfare Society of Khyber Medical College which is over seeing the camps in Mardan and Swabi and is chaired by Prof. Ejaz Hassan. In Mardan there are two main camps Sheikh Yasin and Sheikh Zahid.Some 3126 families are present in Sheikh Zahid of which 90 % are from Swat and 10 % from Buner. The medical camps and doctors are already present in the Sheikh Zahid Camps. The Swabi camps are 90% populated 5032 occupants belonging mostly 90% to Buner. Vice Chancelor of Khyber Medical University Dr. Hafizullah Mohammad is involved with the Social Welfare Society of Khyber Medical College. In Mardan APPNA already has a telemedicine project in collaboration with the UM Healthcare Trust. Dr. Rizwan Naeem (TX) has been coordinating with Zahidabad effort. The relief activities are occurring in the village of Zahidabad, near city of Rustom, Mardan District. Oversight of the project with Khyber Medical College is also being provided by Chief Justice of NWFP Hon. Tariq Pervez.
President APPNA Dr. Syed Samad is expected to visit areas of APPNA’s relief operation areas in Pakistan. Four women doctors of APPNA have already signed up for duty in APPNA relief camps. Funds allocated to various projects are $ 35, 000 and the rest will be disbursed based on the need and future direction and duration of this project of APPNA. Readers who wish to contribute to APPNA’s effort can go on line to http://www.appna.org (Top Menu Bar under donations).
Reports obtained from the Shah Mansoor Camps, Swabi for 19th and 20th May 2009 are 348 patients examined of whom 196 were males 196 were females. The Social Welfare Society of Khyber Medical College reports that cases of upper respiratory infections, diabetic and hypertensive cases were seen in addition to 3 cases of conjunctivitis, skin diseases and even cases of PTSD.