June Issue 2015
The Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplantation (SIUT) is well-known for the healthcare it provides free of charge to the marginalised. Not so well known, however, is the egalitarian philosophy that its founder, Dr Adibul Hasan Rizvi, has instilled in the Institute’s working guidelines. This means providing equal opportunities to all in other walks of life as well. Take the case of Muhammad Imran, 53, who is the head of the operation theatres at SIUT.
‘Imran Bhai’ to his colleagues comes from a modest background. But in performance he excels many OT technicians in the best hospitals in the country. The secret of his success? “Mehnat say mein kabhee naheen ghabraya” (I never fought shy of working hard) he says. And he availed fully the opportunities he was offered.
The son of an electrician in the Public Works Department (PWD), Imran has nine siblings. He was no stranger to poverty all his life. Born in an age when government schools provided good education free of charge, he developed a solid base at the Jacob Lines Government Boys School. But money was needed for uniform, books and stationery. Hence at 14 years of age, he began working after school hours. In the evening he sat on the pavement at the Kothari Parade in Clifton with a weighing machine. He charged his weight-conscious clients 15 paisas to hop onto his scales and on an average collected eight rupees every day. Later in the evening, he worked as an attendant at an eye hospital. This helped him continue his studies and pass his Matriculation exam. He joined the Civil Hospital’s urology ward, the SIUT’s predecessor, as a ward boy in 1980. Thereafter, he has not looked back.
Imran was focused on his dreams for his future. He continued to look for opportunities to improve his skills, clearing one exam after another. Intermediate Science, Operation Theatre Technician’s Diploma and a Medical Technologist’s Diploma. Additionally, Imran made his way to every section of the hospital after his duty hours in the operation theatre. He was observing, assisting and, in the process, learning. By 1992, this young man of 30 whose life had been a permanent struggle was ready to take charge of the operation theatres in one of the finest hospitals in Pakistan.
Today, Imran’s responsibilities have grown with the SIUT. There are 21 OTs and a staff of 88 under him. Initially he was required to oversee the sterilisation of the theatres and the instruments, as well as arrange the supply of the medical disposables needed in surgery. Now he also helps in the training of junior technicians and mentoring them. They say he is an “inspirer.”
Imran’s work has received recognition. In 2005, the Rotary Club gave him an award for his services in the relief work for the earthquake victims in the Northern Areas, where he went with the SIUT team. And in 2008, he was the recipient of the Tamgha-i-Imtiaz.
Imran feels our people have immense capacity for hard work and sincerity. “But the rulers should be sincere and hard-working too,” Imran comments. As for his own team, he empowers them by assigning them responsibilities and making them believe in their own potential.
Acquiring knowledge is Imran’s passion. He has been lucky to learn a lot from the surgeons – both local and foreign – with whom he works. In the end, it is his own willingness to learn that matters. “Every day that dawns teaches me something new,” he says.
This article was originally published in Newsline’s June 2015 issue.
Zubeida Mustafa is a senior journalist. She writes on a variety of subjects but her interest has mainly been in the social sector which she has covered extensively. She has investigated in-depth issues such as education, health care, women’s empowerment, children’s rights and the lives of ordinary people.