During the week-long crossfire between the police and gangsters, the residents of Lyari felt as if their lives had been put on hold.
The government dispensaries and hospitals in the area were rendered useless, for although the Lyari General Hospital and Lyari Medical College were officially open, the staff and students did not report for duty.
In such a scenario, private practitioners and community members decided to step up. They made sure that their hospitals and clinics were up and running.
The Haji Ahmed Memorial dispensary and maternity hospital, located near the conflict zone on Mir Mohammad Baloch Road, was one such hospital which would open every day in the midst of bullets. “We only had to change our system to accommodate people. We allowed patients to come in through a shuttered gate,” said the hospital administrator, M Amanullah.
According to Amanullah, he would reach the hospital from Gulshan-e-Iqbal everyday, park his car at the tower and rent a rickshaw to cover the rest of the distance for security concerns. The gynecologists also travelled from as far as Clifton and Gulshan to tend to their patients and often served the 3 am shifts, he informed The Express Tribune.
Similarly, Dr Iqbal’s clinic, located in Bihar Colony, opened every day amid the chaos that ensued. Dr Iqbal said that although patients were few, the treatment ranged from flu to bullet wounds.
Every little bit helps
Noori Massi, who lives next to her Meeran Pir Maternity Centre, along with a nurse provided private care to pregnant women who needed assistance. According to them, two deliveries were performed within that one disturbed week.
Dr Muhammad Iqbal Vayani’s clinic was also located in one of the worst-affected areas of Khadda market. “I closed my clinic for almost four days because it was impossible to reach the area, but I tried to come whenever I could,” he said.
Massi said that it was the lure of money that attracted private practitioners to the conflict zone. Nevertheless, Zubaida, a patient, said that the doctors’ presence was one of the most comforting thoughts while they were stuck in their homes and bullets pelted against the walls.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 6th, 2012.