National Health Forum Fundraiser in Washington
By C. Naseer Ahmad

A dedicated group of physicians – including Dr. Hameed U. Peracha – past president of the Association of Pakistan Physicians of North America ( APPNA) – Washington area chapter gathered at the Cherry Blossom Restaurant, Sterling, Virginia to raise funds for the National Health Forum – a nonprofit organization. The focus of the meeting was women’s health – specifically debilitating disease such as Fistula which impairs the lives of disadvantaged women of Pakistan.

As the guest speaker, Dr. Shershah Syed was the inspiration for this gathering. His name is featured in the list of 100 people who have made noticeable contribution to the lives of women worldwide and he has been recognized by the Clinton Global Initiative and the International Federation of Gynecologist and Obstetricians (FIGO). A video presentation of the Koohi Goth Hospital Project provided education for the participants unfamiliar with the diseases.

According to the medical magazine the Lancet, Dr Syed recalls how “I had never seen a maternal death or a chronic fistula until I returned to Pakistan after overseas postgraduate training”. Witnessing the complications of childbirth that women in Pakistan endured had a profound effect on him: he abandoned his plans to establish a private infertility clinic and, in 1994, headed to Ethiopia to train in vesico-vaginal and recto-vaginal surgery at the Addis Abbaba Fistula Hospital. Since then, he has remained in Pakistan providing obstetric care to impoverished women.

Dr. Syed’s autobiography “Vision .. not just a dream” provides a story of how “vision and hard work do touch lives and change them inside out.” Participants shared Dr. Syed’s enthusiasm and commitment to help improve lives of women in Pakistan.

 

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Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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