Arthritis is often commonly referred to as a single disease. In fact, it is an collective term for more than 100
medical conditions that affect the musculoskeletal system, specifically joints where two or more bones meet.[[i]
Arthritis-related problems include pain, stiffness, inflammation and damage to joint. This can result in joint weakness, instability and deformities that can interfere with the most basic daily tasks. This disease not only affects patients but their families also suffer.
Arthritis is the major cause of disability and chronic pain resulting in a substantial cost to the nation’s economy in terms of incurred medical costs and indirect costs such as loss of earnings and lost production.
As the population is increasing, the number of people with arthritis is also growing in Pakistan. It is a leading cause of disability in Pakistan and thousands suffer from this curable disease due to inadequacy of available treatments and lack of affordability by the general populace. Extra efforts are needed to reach out to the thousands in need. Unfortunately in Pakistan, there is an extreme shortage of Rheumatologists and consequently a lot of patients are diagnosed at an advanced stage of the disease, resulting in less remission, whereas an early diagnosis and treatment may result in total recovery.
Fatima Memorial Hospital (FMH) was established in 1977, as a non-profit 200 bedded hospital community hospital for women and children. Free Rheumatology clinics started in 1966 while a structured Rheumatology department
was set up in FMH in 2001. In the same year, free medication and consultancy to arthritis patients started.
The hospital is also the home to the Arthritis Care Foundation which provides Physiotherapy and Diagnostic supports to non-affording patients. On average 50 to 100 patients are provided free medicines every month.
Arthritis Care Foundation (ACF) as a collaborating partner with Fatima Memorial Hospital and is being run by a team of Rheumatologists and Philanthropist with the aim to establish, encourage, assist and support,medical social welfare and educational activities, pertaining to deserving or underprivileged patients, both adult and children, affected by arthritis and other related rheumatic diseases, regardless of their sex, religion, caste, or color, or creed.
The Arthritis Care Foundation generates funds for the following:
Provision of latest treatments, which are highly effective but expensive e.g. Biologic Therapies
Provision of artificial joints for all age groups ranging from children to the elderly
Establishing an endowment fund for providing scholarships to trainees in Rheumatology thereby addressing
the critical shortage of qualified rheumatologists in the country.
Through early diagnosis and advanced treatment methodologies by expert Rheumatologists, Arthritis Care Foundation significantly helps prevent disability and death in patients suffering from rheumatic diseases.
Arthritis Care Foundation in close synergy with Fatima Memorial has made special clinics for dealing with rheumatic diseases. One of the clinics “Akhtar Mubarik Referral Center” provides free Consultation services, diagnostics and medicines to deserving patients suffering from Rheumatic disorders. The service of Consultants, Medical Officers and Nursing Assistants and Physiotherapists are provided free of cost. From July 2011-12, a total of 22, 895 patients visited the Center while medicine worth Rs. 126, 869 was provided by Arthritis Care Foundation. [[i]
As discussed, Pakistan faces a shortage of qualified rheumatologists for a population of 190 million. [[ii]
] Fatima Memorial Hospital (FMH) is renowned for its leadership in Rheumatology treatment and is currently running one of the most respected Arthritis Centers in the country. Our consultants continuously rank with the top tier in the
entire country. In addition, FMH is continuously striving to deploy the latest technology and research for improving the quality of treatment for our patients. Rheumatology department is attached to Fatima Memorial Medical and Dental College (FMHM & D) and FMH. It is also affiliated with College of Physicians and Surgeons Pakistan for training of Post Graduate Medical Students.
The Life of Uzma
Global changes in the donor landscape have made it challenging for us to maintain the forward thrust and extensive operation we have managed historically. Non-availability of expert Rheumatologist coupled with spiraling cost of purchasing and servicing medical equipment, not to mention rising global energy prices, has severely challenged
our existing capabilities and infrastructure to the fullest measure.
We feel that such a cause should continue beyond servicing the local community of deserving poor patients such as women and children to include minorities and other ethnic groups as well. All this requires your funding to continue and grow further as we serve more and more patients.
This will only be possible through your understanding of the problems and complexities we face and the challenges that lie ahead. If you feel compassionate about our cause and want to make an impact on the lives of the people by giving them the gift of healthy life, free of pain and suffering, we request you to donate generously. Remember that disability seriously reduces a child’s chances of going to school and an adult’s of finding employment, and therefore increases poverty and dependence. This will not be the future of 5 year old Uzma pictured in figure 2 (attached), who has been treated successfully and now living a normal life free of pain and other joint complications. She is now going to school on a regular basis and her teachers report that she is doing well at school.
With your support there will be many happy Uzmas whose future can be changed permanently for generations to come.
It is not just girls like Uzma who have benefitted from our Center but a countless stream of people from all walks of life and sections of society.
Our Mission Continues
Figure 3- attached illustrates the numbers of various types and volumes of patient flow from 2011 to 2012. It is clear from the diagram below that ‘free outdoor patients general’ are leading with nearly 4,500 treated. This is indeed a monumental achievement!
We are going to continue our fight against this disease. At the same time we are also thankful for your precious donations from the previous years that have made our dream possible. But alas this will all go to waste if we are not able to maintain our momentum.
So we request you to come forward and become a part of this humanitarian movement to work towards the
shared goal of reducing this global silent killer known as Arthritis. Your donations will go a long way towards the fulfillment of our collective mission. We need all the help we can get from socially responsible individuals like you.
Your contributions will mean a lot to us and even more to the poor Arthritis patients whose lives will be positively changed forever by your gift.
[i]National Rheumatology Society Pakistan, Few
Words on Arthritis, http://www.pakrheumatology.org/html/about_arthritis.html,
accessed on March 2013.