UAE based Pakistani residents have raised about Dh8.8 million (US$2.4m) of the Dh12.3m (US$3.35m) needed to build the first diabetic hospital in Pakistan through zakat.
Management at the state-of-the-art Diabetes Center Pakistan, which is due to begin operating by the end of the year in capital Islamabad, revealed the figures at a recent gathering in Dubai.
“Almost 80 per cent of our donations have come from the generous people of UAE. In the last six years, we have received donations of about 350 million Pakistani rupees, out of which 250 million has been contributed by the people here in the UAE, mainly through zakat donations by Pakistani expatriates,” said Ehtesham Uddin, a member of the board of directors and lead coordinator of the center reported UAE’s daily The National.
Pakistanis in UAE number more than 1.2 million. Last year they remitted more than $4.3 billion home– second highest figure after Saudi Arabia based Pak expats remittances ($5.6bn) worldwide.
Speaking at the Diabetes Awareness Iftar Dinner held at Pakistan Association Dubai, he added that the hospital requires another PKR250m by end of this year to start operating.
Dr Asjad Hameed, the founder and chairman of the project, said the hospital is crucial for Pakistan because the country is among the top 10 countries in world for diabetes prevalence.
“Diabetes is one of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality throughout the world. It is associated with a high rate of hospitalization, blindness, amputation, heart disease and kidney failure, among many other complications,” said Dr Hameed, who works as a diabetologist at a leading hospital in Abu Dhabi.
“It is also one of the most common non-communicable diseases globally. According to a WHO report in 2011, about 13 million people are suffering from diabetes in Pakistan and many more are unaware.
“The estimate is that one in 10 Pakistanis is diabetic [so the center] took on the challenge of dealing with the epidemic of diabetes sweeping through Pakistan. We believe that we have a collective responsibility to improve our nation’s health through diabetes awareness, education and healthcare delivery.”
A mobile diabetes clinic set up by Dr Hameed in 2013 has treated 45,000 patients, 70 per cent of whom were treated free of charge.
Diabetes Center – Pakistan is the only Pakistani organization acknowledged and accredited by the UAE Red Crescent, which accepts donation for the hospital, Dr Hameed said.
On June 17, the Center is holding a live fund-raising telethon to reach out to its nationals worldwide with the sponsorship of a local TV channel ARY.