SHINE Humanity’s New Program: Preventive and Primary Healthcare
By Saman Mahmood

SHINE is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of underprivileged communities by providing quality, sustainable, and accessible healthcare and related services, in collaboration with key partners. Since April 2009, the organization has delivered care to over 330,000 needy beneficiaries across the world, and is supporting the establishment of sustainable healthcare projects in the communities it serves.

SHINE Humanity was founded with the belief that health care is a basic right for every human being. Better health enables families and individuals to avail the education and livelihood opportunities that are accessible to them. The organization strives to improve the health of individuals and communities by establishing facilities and initiatives modeled on efficiency, sustainability and transparency, to provide primary and preventive healthcare.

For your contributions, please visit the website: http://www.shinehumanity.org

Shine Humanity held a Project Update and Tea Event at Xai Lounge in Los Angeles on 23 March 2013. The organization follows a practice of updating their supporters and friends, and this event was a part of this tradition to share their progress and significant changes.

The Project Update Event was attended by a distinctive gathering, who have been well-wishers and supporters of SHINE Humanity projects. The Consul General of Pakistan, Mr Tasawar Khan, was welcomed to his post and the City of Los Angeles. Mr Khan affirmed the Consulate’s support to the compassionate cause of SHINE Humanity, and the immense need of such work in different regions of Pakistan.

Dr Salman Naqvi, Chairman SHINE Humanity, apprised the audience of the organization’s work in the past few years. He noted, “SHINE Humanity has successfully completed several disaster-related projects. In three years, we are proud to have served more than 330,000 patients. SH has funded Chikar, Azad Jummu and Kashmir Facility for five years and handed it over to the Government of AJK in good functional state. After the 2010 floods, SH established an out-patient medical clinic in Charsadda, Khyber PakhtunKhwa for flood victims, and continued to treat patients for two years. After the floods, we also funded a hospital in Swat for over a year. With these disaster phase projects coming to an end, SHINE Humanity will continue to support and expand our pediatric ward in the RBUT Civil Hospital, Shikarpur, Sindh.”

Dr Naqvi further described SHINE Humanity’s plans to focus in the future on Preventive Healthcare and Primary Healthcare. He explained, “In the coming years SHINE Humanity plans to collaborate with reputable organizations like SINA, IRD, Indus Hospital, Johns Hopkins University, and Brighton University in England. We are already in touch with these institutions, and plan to create a comprehensive preventive-health and public education program. We already have commitment from media outlets for mass public education on TV and radio. The aim is to create public health models by scientific methods to be used by the Government and others.”

Elaborating on this grand plan for preventive healthcare, Dr Naqvi explained that patient data and community surveys will be used to track health outcomes and implement measures to improve the health of the communities. The focus will be on:

  • Hypertension screening and treatment
  • Diabetes Mellitus screening and treatment
  • Chewing tobacco, beetle nuts, and smoking cessation.
  • Obesity and malnutrition
  • Water borne diseases and hygiene education
  • Maternal and Child health

He further observed that “Public Health in Pakistan is dismal; there is no comprehensive plan to effectively tackle the basics. Pakistan suffers a Double Burden of disease, that is, communicable diseases like diarrhea and respiratory infections, and we are now seeing more and more cases of chronic diseases like diabetes and hypertension which are mother of many other deadly diseases like heart attacks, stroke, kidney failure, and blindness. There are increasing cases of malnutrition among poor and increasing cases of obesity in urban areas, upto 35% after age thirty.”

“We are seeing increasing number of cancers - the leading cause of which is tobacco in the form of cigarettes, shisha and guthka. Pakistan has the distinction to have the highest incidence of oral cancer in the world due to guthka epidemic. Prevention of oral cancer is simple awareness and education, the cost is minimal. Treatment of oral cancer like any other cancer costs million of rupees and is still not curative. We will also include Water, Sanitation and Hygiene solutions as part of our preventive programs. This is the major reason of deaths of thousands of children that is completely preventable. We plan to create models that can be implemented effectively and in a cost-effective manner to greater health for the community at large.”

Dr Naqvi then presented a financial analysis of the cost benefit of preventive care, in relation to heart surgery versus treatment of hypertension. He illustrated that millions of lives and dollars can be saved each year by preventing chronic diseases.

Later, Dr Faisal Khan gave a very informative presentation on SHINE Humanity’s new primary care initiatives. He said that due to lack of basic healthcare in many areas of Pakistan, the sick in the rural areas have to travel to a big town or city for primary and specialty care. Even in cities with government supported "Civil Hospital's” care is woeful and non-governmental and private charitable organizations step in to fill the gaps in availability of and access to healthcare. There is little preventive care screening and education and primary care facilities are inadequately staffed and stocked. Keeping this in mind SH has revised its mission to support projects in Pakistan with the best return in healthcare outcomes.

Dr Faisal Khan informed that “SHINE has signed an agreement with the principles in the General Hospital in Gharo in Thatta District to provide funds to start primary and preventive care. Gharo serves a catchment area of approx 70 thousand people and is in dire need of a facility which will serve the indigents. There is an opportunity to gradually increase the services provided in the hospital with the goal of making it a full service hospital as we raise the appropriate funds.”

Many professionals in the medical field have realized that preventive care is the most efficient way to change public health, and to help Pakistanis lead healthier lives. And Shine Humanity has decided to take up this cause head-on.

 

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Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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