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Professor Abdul Rashid Gatrad: from postman to UK’s most respected Muslim doctor

10:54 AM | 13 May, 2024
Professor Abdul Rashid Gatrad: from postman to UK’s most respected Muslim doctor

Professor Abdul Rashid Gatrad OBE, a highly respected Consultant Paediatrician from Britain, has urged the government of Pakistan to provide vocational training to the country's most underprivileged children in accordance with the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals.

Professor Gatrad has previously served as the CEO of Midland International Trust (MIAT), where he helped raise over £3 million for healthcare projects across the world. One of their most notable achievements was the construction of a modern cleft hospital in Gujarat, Pakistan. The hospital was built to the highest standards and was so successful that it was featured in a 15-minute documentary by ITV. The hospital provides free services, including surgeries, and is largely funded by Muslim and Pakistani donors from the West Midlands.
 
The Professor of Paediatrics and Child Health at three universities - University of Birmingham, Universities of Kentucky and Wolverhampton - was awarded the OBE from the Queen in 2002 for services to ethnic minority children in the Midlands and in 2014 was made deputy Lieutenant to Her Majesty the Queen for his services. In the same year, he was made Freeman of the Borough of Walsall for halving the death rate in newborn babies and for his part in the research into the Hepatitis Vaccine that was subsequently rolled out globally. 


 
Born originally in India but working in Pakistan, in 2003, Prof Gatrad met Mr Khwaja Mohammed Aslam, a Pakistani bus driver and a businessman, who was the chairman of Midland International Aid Trust UK (MIAT). He invited him in 2005 to be the CEO.  Since then, the charity has made a considerable difference in the lives of hundreds of thousands worldwide – particularly children. At the time, MIAT only had £20,000 of working capital, and Pakistan was the only country where humanitarian aid was provided.  Since then, Rashid has sacrificed time, effort, energy and money to make MIAT truly global – now in over 20 countries. 
 
Professor Abdul Rashid Gatrad, who started as a postman before becoming a doctor in 1971, financed mainly through MIAT this- a state-of-the-art 3-storey hospital which houses audiology, speech therapy, dental services, two wards and two operating theatres.  The hospital is supported by four doctors running round-the-clock operations and providing free medical aid to patients in the area, including those who travel from far and wide.  The hospital grounds have playing facilities. Then it was in 2016 when he met a female teenage street beggar on crutches during a visit to Gujarat. She had clubbed feet that were bare and bleeding. This led to Professor Rashid Gatrad setting up the Clubfoot centre, where now hundreds are being treated from birth – avoiding operations when older.
 
He said: “I request the Government of Pakistan to pay attention to vocationally training children and youth to empower them, especially girls. This will be good for Pakistan’s long-term development. Currently, there is no focus on this area. We are prepared to work with Pakistan to support the effort. We have completed a huge maternity and children’s hospital named after my mother, Jubaida, in Gujarat, Pakistan, which is now dedicated to cleft operations.  This hospital is a demonstration of what can be achieved. Our charity goal is to reduce poverty and improve health outcomes from sustainable projects for thousands of disadvantaged populations in over 20 African and Asian countries.”
 
He said: “The Jubaida Gatrad hospital was completed in 2015 and now provides employment to many. MIAT has provided medical equipment, and the hospital is attracting more and more people to Gujarat city. After I set up the club foot centre at this hospital in 2016, Ruth Lawson from the British High Commission attended its inaugural opening to witness the highly trained international cleft/clubfoot surgical team I had assembled from the UK. The Overseas Plastic Surgery Appeal (OPSA) team of 20 intense travels twice a year to Pakistan. All give up their time free for projects in which I have led the development of a prominent and targeted model of interventions - namely an integrated and multi-sectoral pathway of care of children that resources local healthcare capacities to screen them and in the process, provide children access to education through, for example, help with hearing and speech therapy. An intensive care centre is under construction, funded by my MIAT. 


 
 The director of Deafkidz International, Steve Crump, visited the centre in 2017 and hailed it as a revolutionary set-up for a facility like that in Pakistan. Over the subsequent three years, he helped develop the audiology services. The professor said, “Collaborating with Deafkidz International, we have screened 20,000 children with deafness in Punjab, Pakistan. Now, 20 million people in the Sindh district have access to this service, which I helped set up and facilitated. Improving such disabilities and supporting education, particularly for girls, ensures that children take their rightful place in society and do not beg on the streets with a potential for abuse and trafficking..”
 
He said: “Over the last 15 years, in addition to the aperture and club foot centres we have set up in Pakistan, we have established a breast care service for women, an artificial limb fitting centre, which houses the club foot centre named after my father Mahomed Gatrad, cataract camps, hearing services for the new-born, dental services, and an outreach clinic for elderly and pregnant women in Sooklan Gujrat. 
 
The veteran doctor’s work extends to over 20 countries, including Somalia, Malawi, Gambia, Syria, Bangladesh, Haiti, the Dem Rep of Congo, and Nepal, where he provided 1000 huts for families with children, the elderly and the disabled after the earthquake in 2014. ‘’Much of my international work is funded from my NHS salary donated through the GAYE scheme over the last 15 years. In addition, I get strong financial support from connections with business people worldwide in countries such as Dubai, the UK, S Africa, etc.”  
 
The doctor explained that through MIAT projects, he had arranged over 5000 cataract operations in Pakistan, Kashmir and Malawi; delivered over 500 cataract operations in Bangladesh; carried out 40 operations in Sierra Leone on teenage girls with vaginal fistulae; delivered food provisions, fresh water and blankets to refugees in Syria, Jordon, Kenya and Lebanon; built a 3Km freshwater pipeline in a village in Somalia; built houses in Malawi in Nepal, Bangladesh and Pakistan after the floods and supported vocational training projects in Sierra Leone, Malawi, Turkey, India, Kashmir and Pakistan. 
 
He added: “Over the last ten years, I have been providing two ‘Gatrad Bursaries’ per year to doctors and nurses who travel abroad to train and teach.”  Professor Abdul Rashid Gatrad regularly travels to Gujarat to train and teach nurses to care for newborn babies. He has trained more than 1200 nurses over the last 15 years, and some of the nurses he trained now work in the medical profession in England and Europe.
 
Over six years ago, he set up WASUP—World Against Single Use Plastic, which incorporates the impacts of climate change. He has fought tooth and nail to decrease plastic pollution through the Reuse, Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle principles. He has given talks to many august organisations, including UNESCO, on these subjects. WASUP is now in over 50 countries.
 
At 78, he is still full of enthusiasm to make a difference in the lives of the needy; Professor Abdul Rashid Gatrad plans to revisit Pakistan with the hope of meeting government officials to raise the profile for his charity’s campaign for vocational education for some of the most downtrodden sections of the society. The renowned doctor remains determined to continue as a charity worker till his last breath. He said: “Since a young age, I have considered the struggle of the thousands of disadvantaged worldwide as my own. I have the courage and conviction to not succumb to despair and defeat but to rise to challenges with an ever-increasing resolve. I believe I have improved lives and brought joy to thousands of people in practical, lifesaving and life-enhancing ways. I have done nothing for self-aggrandisement. This is for humanity and to leave a legacy of bringing hope and serving humanity. ”

Daily Pakistan Global Web Desk

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Currency Rates in Pakistan - Pak Rupee to US Dollar, Euro, Pound, Dirham, Riyal - 25 June 2024

Pakistani rupee rates against US Dollar and other currencies on June 25, 2024 (Tuesday) in open market.

USD to PKR Rate Today

US dollar was being quoted at 277.5 for buying and 280.65 for selling.

Euro's buying rate stands at 293.5 and selling rate is 297.2 while British Pound rate is 348.5 for buying, and 351.45 for selling.

UAE Dirham AED was at 75.05 and Saudi Riyal at 72.95.

Currency Rates in Pakistan

Source: Forex Association of Pakistan. (last update 09:00 AM)
Currency Symbol Buying Selling
US Dollar USD 277.5 280.65
Euro EUR 293.5 297.2
UK Pound Sterling GBP 348.5 351.45
U.A.E Dirham AED 75.05 75.85
Saudi Riyal SAR 72.95 73.85
Australian Dollar AUD 182.2 184
Bahrain Dinar BHD 740.58 748.58
Canadian Dollar CAD 203 205
China Yuan CNY 38.35 38.75
Danish Krone DKK 39.91 40.31
Hong Kong Dollar HKD 35.67 36.02
Indian Rupee INR 3.33 3.44
Japanese Yen JPY 1.9 1.98
Kuwaiti Dinar KWD 907.74 916.74
Malaysian Ringgit MYR 59.07 59.67
New Zealand Dollar NZD 170.38 172.38
Norwegians Krone NOK 26.38 26.68
Omani Riyal OMR 723.26 731.26
Qatari Riyal QAR 76.5 77.2
Singapore Dollar SGD 72.95 73.85
Swedish Korona SEK 26.5 26.8
Swiss Franc CHF 311.53 314.03
Thai Bhat THB 7.58 7.73

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