January issue 2016
Healing Mind and Body
A graduate of the London School of Economics and a former staffer at Newsline, Maheen Bashir Adamjee is now very quickly making a name for herself in the fields of health and education.
Her primary focus has been on the Patient’s Aid Foundation (PAF), which was started in 1990 by citizens, including her father, concerned at the drop in quality of healthcare offered at Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC). As Maheen says, “Jinnah hospital was in a dilapidated state. People walked for miles from all over Sindh to get treatment that was substandard.”
According to Maheen, the three major projects PAF is currently working on is patient welfare for needy people, a drug bank which will provide free drugs to those who can’t afford them, and a blood bank which works only on donations and provides 300 pints of blood a day.
The project Maheen seems most proud of is the CyberKnife, which is a robotic, non-invasive technology used to treat cancer patients. An alternative to surgery, it provides radiation doses in a painless manner. Maheen says, “There are only 18 machines like this in the world and we are the only ones who provide it for free.”
Maheen has been working tirelessly to expand the reach of the PAF. She says, “There was no awareness about the work we’ve done — no on-ground volunteer network and no social media presence.” Since then, Maheen has overseen the construction of a website and is working towards launching an internship programme by next year. The aim, she says, is to get the youth of the country involved in PAF so that the work it is doing can be carried forward by the next generation.
The next big project Maheen is working on is The Dot and the Line, an educational group targeted towards primary school students which will use innovative techniques that go beyond rote learning and allow students to apply concepts that they would previously memorise but be unable to use practically. Maheen says, “The problem we are addressing is that in our current academic system once students graduated from primary school they couldn’t even pass the grade two level. The Dot and the Line will provide alternative, curated education based on international techniques.”
Just eight months old, the organisation was chosen by Invest to Innovate to receive mentorship and resources to help achieve its goals. The Dot and the Line is targeting middle- and lower-income students and if Maheen’s track record is anything to go by, it will be a welcome addition to the education sector.
This article was originally published in Newsline’s Annual 2016 issue.
Nadir Hassan is a Pakistan-based journalist and assistant editor at Newsline.