Hiba got in touch with Sina, a team of committed, educated and privileged experts who have chosen to reach out to the slums of Karachi to offer relief
1) Why was Sina born? What was your basic aim and vision?
SINA is named after Ibn Sīnā/Avicenna (980-1037), the Persian polymath who wrote almost 450 treatises on a wide range of subjects. His The Canon of Medicine, which was a standard medical text at many universities until as late as 1650, provides a complete system of medicine. With our inspiration coming from this pioneer in the field of medicine, we started our first clinic in 1998 when Dr. Asif Imam returned to Pakistan after practicing medicine in the USA for over two decades. The vision guiding this beginning was simple – to provide quality primary healthcare to those in need regardless of financial means available. The Clinics gradually grew with SINA Trust formally coming into being in 2007.
2) How is Sina different from similar work that others are doing in the field of healthcare?
What differentiates us is our focus and our quality system. We are focused exclusively on primary healthcare delivered by building clinics in the heart of urban slums. On quality, Sina’s greatest asset is its quality management system. This system is unique, as it has adapted quality international healthcare protocols, used in developed healthcare systems for application in low-income settings. Simply put, this is the foundation, on which we believe a scalable quality primary healthcare system can be created for catering to the needs of less-privileged communities across Pakistan. Our aim, therefore, is to take this system of quality primary healthcare across Pakistan.
3) Can you tell us about your team members?
The Sina Board of Trustees include highly committed professionals, who have joined hands to provide quality healthcare to those in need. Our trustees include Dr. Asif Imam (Allergist & Immunologist), Dr. Naseeruddin Mahmood (Pediatrician), Mohammad Fazil Bharucha (Lawyer), Sohail Ahmed (Industrialist) and Jalauddin Idrus (Educationist/ Social Worker). Our CEO Riaz Ahmed Kamlani has held positions of Chief Operating Officer and Vice President at The Citizens Foundation prior to joining Sina.
4) How can others help you in your work? Would you need human resource or financial assistance?
Our key focus is to help save children from critical illness and help women look after their health, who constitute 80% of our patients. A majority of our patients are Zakah eligible, based on Zakah eligibility evaluation conducted under the guidance of our Shariah Advisor. Our greatest need is to fund the cost of treatment which is Rs. 350 per patient. We, therefore, encourage individuals to help treat as many patients as they can through Zakah and other contributions.
Our future aim is to take this system of quality primary healthcare across Pakistan, Insha’Allah. For this, we would continue to be in need of both financial and volunteer time contributions for eg. from female doctors who have not been able to consistently practice given family commitments, but are keen to contribute to our cause. We would, therefore, invite you to support us in bringing quality healthcare to those in need.
5) Can you tell us more about your projects in slum areas?
Sina is a not-for-profit organization, focusing on providing primary healthcare in less-privileged communities. Our vision is that quality healthcare should be accessible for all. To achieve this, we build clinics in the heart of deserving communities and provide both curative and preventive care. As of 2013, Sina has seven clinics in the urban slums of Karachi, in areas including Baldia Colony, Ittehad Colony, Machar Colony and Old Sabzimandi. Over 80% of Sina’s patients are women and children who benefit from quality healthcare provided at their doorstep. This costs us Rs 350+ per patient whilst the fee from patients is Rs 5-30 with free medicines, test and follow up care.
6) Would you like to share with us any of “Sina’s” success stories?
Two-year-old Sahil was born blind because of bilateral congenital cataracts. While being treated for the flu at Sina clinic, he was diagnosed and referred to an ophthalmology hospital and recommended for surgery. With a diagnosis of severe anemia combined with intolerance for oral iron supplements, our experts initiated a blood transfusion process prior to surgery, which was successful. Today, for the first time, Sahil can experience the joy of seeing with both eyes.
We pray to Allah (swt) to grant Barakah and life to “Sina” as a critically needed project for the forgotten and less-privileged segment of our society. Individuals who can add any value to their mission can reach Sina at: