AN INSPIRING SESSION WITH DR. ABDUL BARI KHAN- CEO OF INDUS HOSPITAL
In an inspiring session with our MBA cohorts, Dr. Abdul Bari Khan shared the story behind the creation of The Indus Hospital. TIH is pioneering an exemplary model of free healthcare in Pakistan and Dr. Bari epitomizes the spirit of unconditional service to humanity regardless of any accolades or honors as validation. “Where I stand today would not have been possible without my parents’ prayers and more supremely Allah’s will.” According to Dr. Bari, FAITH is the foundation of success supported by pillars of consistency, virtue and selflessness a lesson this world needs to learn!
It was back in 1986 when Karachi was hit by a bomb blast that the city faced the first emergency of its kind, causing the civil hospitals to be inundated with the injured in critical condition and on the brink of death. The hospital was unable to cope with the victims bought in, causing many doctors and hospital staff much distress. This event pushed health Industry professionals to band together and establish the PWA, a first in philanthropy in the health sector. The success of their first project encouraged these same individuals to come together again in 2005 and found a complete general Hospital.
The highlight of Dr. Khan’s time at Dow Medical College, where he was a student from 1981 to 1986, was his involvement with the student-run Patient Welfare Association (PWA), where he was in charge of the blood bank. Blood donation had the taint of taboo at the time: he recalls instances where fathers would threaten their sons, telling them not to donate blood even if it was the only way of saving their wives’ lives, otherwise they would kill them. The business of blood was instead run by ‘professional donors’, a racket of drug users who would sell their blood to feed their addiction needs.
They would donate twice a week, at times, you can imagine what sort of hemoglobin level that blood would have had. When these ‘donors’ went on strike, agitating for a raise in their rates, it was the students at Dow Medical who came forward and began donating blood. What ensued was a movement of sorts leading to the establishment, for the first time in Pakistan, of a tradition of voluntary blood donation. For a while after, collectively, the student organizers of the blood drives would move in groups, fearful that the addicts, the aggrieved original ‘donors’, might try to harm them.
In 1986, Dr. Khan graduated; he was now a certified MBBS. That same year, twin bomb blasts ripped through Karachi’s Soldier Bazaar, setting a precedent of violence that has only increased in recent years. It was horrific, it was then that we realized just how ill-equipped the emergency ward of the Civil Hospital was. When the then Secretary Health came to visit, he was besieged by students who locked him up in a room and made to beat him. The PWA took over the task of completely renovating and modernizing the casualty of Civil Hospital, Karachi. The task required an amount of Rs. 3,274,500, which was raised by going door-to-door, classroom to classroom. The Accidents and Emergency ward was inaugurated in July 1987; it were school children who were invited to cut the inaugural ribbon. We thought of calling the chief minister and then decided against the idea in the meantime, three chief ministers came and went, the moment when the board went up above the ward: as they called out to the workers to lift it up from here, fix it from there, the four friends made a pledge to one day run their own hospital.
Today, more than 20 years later, Indus Hospital stands spread over 20 acres of land in Karachi’s densely populated Korangi area. Two things make it unique: one, that it is paperless; two, that it is completely free of cost. The idea of a hospital operating solely on donations, on the goodwill of society, appears ludicrous and frankly, unsustainable. But the structure at Korangi stands as defiant testimony to the fact that it can be done. Initially, within that group of four, it was only Dr. Khan who had unwavering faith in the feasibility of the project. Work on the hospital began in May 2005 some months later, on October 8, an earthquake flattened large parts of the north. The outpouring of money and support from large sections of society convinced the others. Dr. Khan from Balakot, where he was helping transport 14 containers that had been converted into operation theaters, to tell him that he too now had faith.
Dr. Khan is a simple man, who simply believed. “I deal in billions of rupees but I don’t have billions of rupees. He remembers another story about the time when he was in charge of expanding the operating facilities at The National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases (NICVD). “I had three months to complete the project and within that time frame, there was one month when there would be no work. He had a debt of about 500,000 on his head for the hospital and he had as yet no way of paying it. He tried to go to bed but kept waking up, his heart racing. He prayed to God and went back to sleep. The next morning, he says, he got a call from a friend, who wanted to visit. When he heard about Dr. Khan’s current project, he donated the promised amount. “These things happen all the time,” Dr. Bari insists, his voice tinged with wonder. Dr. Khan, who takes this teasing with characteristic good humor, does feel that he owes a great deal to his family.
The Indus Hospital is a one of a kind institution in the country. We invite and encourage everyone to join hands in this noble endeavor that provides to those who cannot have. The Indus Hospital has a fully armed and still developing research and teaching wing, training the next generation to provide quality care and developing breakthroughs in medical research to combat increasingly resistant bacterial and viral infections. We stay ahead, taking advantage of technology, to make the venture completely paperless, doing our part to stay green and efficient. The Indus Hospital tackles Pakistan’s health problems with its multi-disciplinary staff to provide timely support to the many emergencies that arise daily.
The Hospital comprises of around 20 departments from Ophthalmology, Radiology, Dermatology, Urology, Orthopedics and trauma surgery, Pediatrics, Diabetes care, Dialyses center, Nutritional services, Gastroenterology, and Neurology. An outpatient clinic serves to filter patients from OPD to Hospital admittance. We cater to 1000+ outpatients (clinical) patients daily along with 30+ inpatient Hospital admittance. The Hospital is currently in Phase I of its expansion plan, a push that will take us to 996 beds by 2018 and 1800 beds by 2024, becoming the largest Hospital.
Just as you are inspired and motivated by the responsibility of your leadership role, your standout employees can be equally driven by a division of power and management responsibility. Don’t be afraid to delegate rewarding good work with added responsibilities can lead to even better returns. “The best way to lead is to empower: no more top management with resources at their disposal, I never make managers for my project, but I always create a team of leaders where I am not only the leader of my team but every member of my team is the ‘LEADER
Managed by a passionate and competent team of local and expatriate professionals working round-the-clock under Khan’s dynamic leadership, Indus Hospital has treated more than 2.3 million patients since its inception in 2007 and continues to expand and grow. Dr. Abdul Bari Khan, is one of those people who have devoted their lives to serve fellow human beings. It is because of these people that we have the convenience to facilitate millions of people through quality health delivery systems and save lives.