My interaction with the Aman foundation began a few years back whenÂ I was attending a TED X conference here in Karachi and they had oneÂ of their ambulances standing outside for people to check out. From the outside the yellow ambulance looked a bit bigger than the normal body carrier we see moving around this increasingly violent megapolis and not much else. What really surprised me was what was on the inside. They not only had a properly fitted ambulance but emergency medical aid utility as well as defibrillators and a doctor which rode on every call. I remember stepping away thinking naaah how could an organization maintain a fleet of these things in Pakistan and do it in the long run. My mind calculated the Approximate cost of this life saver and came to the quick cynical solution that this was probably one of five such vehicles operating in Karachi.
The realization on how wrong I was came last January when my fatherÂ in law fell critically ill and after a few days on the ventilatorÂ at one of the posher hospitals in the D.H.A area we decided to moveÂ him to Agha Khan. I actually couldn’t believe myself as I dialedÂ 1021 and had an efficient person not just handle my case ofÂ Histrionics but get the ambulance to us within a matters of 15Â minutes to carry my father in law across Karachi seamlessly. ThatÂ and the excellent courtesy maintained by both the doctor inside theÂ vehicle and the driver of the ambulance is something I will notÂ soon forget. It was on this day that I found out there are about a 100 suchÂ vehicles in operation in Karachi situated at 90 key points and thisÂ was how they handled each call.
Sadly my father in law did not make it through his illness. HoweverÂ this was the same year in which I started working with UNWOMEN toÂ run a violence against women campaign called â€œTashadud na manzurâ€.Â In this campaign as we reached out to 1 million people throughÂ social media in a matter of three months. I and my team wereÂ besieged by calls from females who did not know where to go whenÂ faced with violence. These were people across Pakistan whoÂ had no idea whom to contact in the case of an emergency, or simplyÂ to find out just what the side effects of the medicine they wereÂ about to ingest were. I thought by Tashadud na manzurs end weÂ should launch some kind of a hot line, something staffed byÂ professionals willing to help. I rattled around with that idea inÂ my head for some months before someone put me on to 111-11-9123 orÂ Aman Telehealth.
The same Aman foundation ran this hotline and I started to find outÂ how to get in touch with the people behind these services. When IÂ first visited Aman in Jan 2014, I was completely bowled over. I hadÂ expected this to be a small well staffed organization but insteadÂ it was a behemoth of good will. I do not know whether they are tooÂ humble to tell the world or want to do their work quietly, but thisÂ foundation has over the last five years spent in excess of 70 million USD in our country just to help Pakistaniâ€™s out. They have not just an amazing ambulance service and a telehealth department which handles 400 calls a day with a team of “live via voice” doctors and nurses as well asÂ trained psychologists, but programs like Teach for Pakistan and theÂ Amantech center which I would like to talk about in some detail inÂ my blogs to come.
Right now I am in the process of arranging an outreachÂ program for this organization and I am doing this because the rightÂ knowledge needs to spread to the right people. The knowledge whichÂ took me almost a year to understand could save lives and the bestÂ way I know how to do that is through social media. In the days toÂ come I will be launching a google form that will enable you to signÂ up and take a tour of Amanâ€™s facilities, there we will allÂ get not just a briefing but can actually attend some of theÂ activities going on daily as well as getting some CPR training.Â Perhaps some of us can even get involved with this organization andÂ do something for our city and nation. Like Ahsan Jamil the Ceo ofÂ this foundation said to me last week.
â€œPakistan is not a poor country its a poorly managed country andÂ together we can work towards taking care of itsÂ problemsâ€
Well here is to bringing Aman to Karachi and to ourÂ lives!