Paraplegic Center Peshawar
Enabling people with spinal cord injuries, in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the rest of the country to their maximum physical & psychosocial capacity within the limits of their physical and environmental limitations;
Transforming society by optimizing functional mobility minimizing barriers, building skills and encouraging inclusion, to improve human experience.
Physical, Occupational, Vocational and Psychosocial Rehabilitation, Community Re-integration, Wheelchair accessibility, minor home modifications, Participation in Sports /Games, Re-creational activities, Job Placement & Socio-economic support, of people with spinal cord injuries.
Sensitization of the Medical fraternity, Govt functionaries, Political leaders, religious scholars and general masses regarding the plight & issues of people with all kinds of Physical disabilities.
Promotion, Projection and Advocacy of the basic human rights of people with spinal cord injuries in particular & other disabilities in general.
INCEPTION/PLANNING/DESIGNING …………………………………………………………………….1979 to 1981
Wars are ugly and bring miseries to people who are caught in the midst, but at times it stirs things up for the best, mostly as an unintended consequence.
The inception of Paraplegic Center Peshawar (PCP), is one of those unintended consequences of the Russian/Afghan war in late 1970s & throughout the 1980s.
The influx of a large number of young Afghans, with severe spinal cord injuries (SCIs) at the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Hospital in University Town, compelled the western trained Doctors and Physiotherapists to look for a facility where people with SCIs can be rehabilitated, after their initial stabilization or acute care.
To their surprise, they were not able to find any facility where people with SCIs can be comprehensively rehabilitated, in the entire SARC region. That’s when they started to think about establishing a long term rehabilitation center on the lines of the NSIC Stoke Mandeville, London.
Soon it was realized that any such expensive venture will not be sustainable for a country like Pakistan, which lead to the idea of developing a center based on low-cost local material & local technology resulting in the birth of the “Paraplegic Centre Hayatabad Peshawar”.
CONSTRUCTION & INAUGURATION…………………………………………………………………..1982 to 1984
The Govt of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, was generous enough to provide ICRC with a piece of 20 kanal prime land in Hayatabad Peshawar. The planning, designing & construction started somewhere in 1982 and a beautiful, single story, one hundred percent wheel chair accessible structure with a helipad was completed, in 1984. The entire building was designed with special people in mind and it remains to be the only custom-made facility for the comprehensive physical rehabilitation of people with SCIs in Pakistan.
SMOOTH SAILING AS JOINT VENTURE OF ICRC/PRCS……………………………………1984 to 1992
The first patient from the ICRC, Surgical Hospital was admitted in March 1984. Slowly and gradually, it turned into a world class, 100 bed (50 Pakistan and 50 Afghan), facility where people with post traumatic SCI’s from Kabul to Karachi were treated and rehabilitated at no cost to them and eventually transformed into a model center of its kind for the entire, 3rd World, which was consequently copied by India, Syria and Georgia.
Famous Neurologist (R) Major General Pervaiz Kiani, also took, time to visit and liaison with the Center to start a physical rehabilitation program of his own in Rawalpindi, which has now turned into a state of the art, Armed Forces Institute of Rehab Medicine (AFIRM). The establishment of PCP, lead to something else, which is more powerful and much more beneficial for the people of Pakistan and that’s is the introduction of physical medicine and rehabilitation in Pakistan and the rest of the 3rd World countries. Note: I worked at the Center, as a fresh graduate, physiotherapist from March 1989 to Nov 1991 and that’s where, I fall in love with the comprehensive rehabilitation of people with spinal cord injuries in Pakistan. Within a short span of approximately two years at the center, I wrote the first and only patient care manual (book) for people with spinal cord injuries in Pakistan. It will not be justice if I don’t mention the outright support of Mr. Zahir Kan (Ex Rehab Coordinator) and Khalilullah Mohammadi (Ex OT assistant) beside the kind patronage of Miss Jeanine Moori (a Swiss OT) and Dr. Amba Subramanium (a French Doctor), in this regard. In 1991, I proceeded to United States and remained there for about 12 years.
The reign of Pakistan Red Crescent Society (PRCS) K P………………………………………………1992 to 2003
It was a smooth sailing both for the patients it served and the staff working at the Center, till it was fully taken over by the PRCS KP, in 1992 as per their “MoU” with ICRC. PRCS had no desire, nor it planned for any eventuality to keep on running the center. As a result, within the first month of their reign, the PRCS, expressed their inability to finance the center any more. To cut a long story short, after a hectic struggle and subsequent failure to find any other source of funding the management of the center decided to start charging, every single patient, Rs. 15000/month, who happened to be extremely poor and mostly the sole bread winners of their respective families. After running from pillar to post for a couple of years the center’s management decided to get rid of most of the trained workers which lead to further decline of services throughout the decade. No one came to the rescue and bare maintenance of the Center become a daunting task in absence of any support from the PRCS, ICRC and all the consecutive Govts from 1992 till 2003.
It will not be an exaggeration if we call this period as “the dark ages of the PCP”
THE INVOLVEMENT OF THE GOVT OF KP…………………………………………………………..2004 to 2006
In 2002/03, I decided to relocate in Pakistan, with the intension to established a modern School/College in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in order to make a dent into the outdated education system but that’s not what I was distant to.
After being bugged continuously by old friends like Mr. Zahir Khan and Dr. Qayyum Afridi, I got involved voluntarily with the intension to turn the attention of the Govt, to the plight of people with SCIs, but I got stuck with it, as the problem was much bigger then, I could have imagined.
PRCS, was not ready to cooperate, ICRC was very much disappointed with the management of the centre and the Govt had nothing to do with it. We had to fight on multiple fronts, without any financial support from any quarter. After a prolonged uphill struggle, against all odds, we were able to secure funds worth Rs: 3million in 2004, from the department of health Govt of KP. The services were improved and the patient load went up with gradual increase of funds from the Govt, along with donations from NGOs and individual Philanthropists. Over a period of 4 years, we were able to revive the Center, in letter & spirit. The entire building was rehabilitated, most if not all the trained staff was rehired, all the old departments were strengthened, new departments & technologies were introduced with the financial support of the Govt of KP, ICRC, HHRD USA, FHF Australia, KFW Germany and many other local, national/international NGOs and individual philanthropists. PRCS KP, was not happy with this development and after all its failed attempts to stop us through the provincial Chief Minister and consecutive Governors, they took us to court. After a few hearings the court threw their petition out, which paved the way for a much-needed ordinance, “The Paraplegic Center taking over & re-establishment ordinance 2007” on the very last day of the then Govt of KP.
The Govt of KP/Autonomous Body………………………………………………………………………….2007 & onward
In the mean while, I was assigned with the responsibility of the CEO of the Center, by the Board of Governors with former Chief Secretary KP, Mr. Abduallah as its first Chairman, who happened to be a kind hearted man of great vision. If it was not for the sincere & consistent efforts and guidance of Mr.Abdullah and the outright support of the late Qazi Hussain Ahmad, former C.M KP Mr Akram Khan Durrani and former Health Minister Mr Inayatullah Khan, Paraplegic Center today, would have been everything but a place “WHERE HOPES REMAIN ALIVE”. Mr.Abduallah resigned right after the promulgation of the PCP Ordinance and Mr. Rustam Shah Mohmand (Former Chief Secretary KP) was appointed as the Chairman of the Board, who remained in chair till 2011. Things took another turn for the best when Mr. Zia ur Rahman (former Secretary Finance KP), was appointed as the Chairman of the Board, who helped us expedite the cumbersome process of the formulation of our own rules and regulations, beside securing financial resources and guiding us to become a center of excellence for the treatment & rehabilitation of people with spinal cord injuries. Above all a new culture of “Patient is the Boss” was introduced and today PCP, remains to be the only facility of its kind providing free of cost comprehensive physical and psychosocial rehabilitation services to people with spinal cord injuries (SCIs) from Kabul to Karachi. The Paraplegic Center taking over & re-establishment ordinance was transferred into an act of parliament in 2009 and today it operates as autonomous body, under the administrative control of the department of Health Govt of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
As “Secretary Finance Govt. of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa” from 2002 till 2009, I had close interaction with the “Paraplegic CenterHayatabad”. I always appreciated the Centre’s performance and maintained an overall good impression regarding its services throughout my tenure. However, I visited the Center for the first time when, I reluctantly accepted the responsibility to be appointed as its Chairman of the “Board of Governors” (BOG), by the Provincial Government, in March, 2012. It was a pleasant surprise to find out that “Paraplegic Center” was not only serving, destitute people with Severe “Spinal Cord injuries” (SCIs), one hundred percent free of cost, it also maintains standards par excellence, consuming very decent financial resources. Using low cost, local technology and indigenous medical professionals, it’s the only facility of it’s kind, serving the Medical, Physical, Occupational, Recreational, Vocational and Psychosocial Rehabilitation needs of People with SCIs from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, FATA and the rest of the country and Afghanistan. Paraplegic Center, also serves as a role model of the “Comprehensive Physical Rehabilitation” in Pakistan besides the fact that it’s a health care facility, where mostly the workers and professionals take pride in working with a missionary zeal. I think “Paraplegic Center” has all the ingredients to become a “Center of Excellence” for the treatment and Comprehensive Rehabilitation of “People with Spinal Cord Injuries” from all over the Country. I personally feel proud to be a part of such a dynamic institution. Using my experience of 4 decades, working with the Government, I’ll not leave any stone unturned in order to turn “Paraplegic Center” into an institution which, not only serves the Rehabilitation needs of SCIs, in Pakistan, it must also embark upon, much needed academic, research and development programs in the ever growing arena of the “Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation”, inshallah.
Breaking a bone or two is one thing! Breaking back or neck is yet another, as unlike any other bone in our body, the spine, (back bone) not only keeps our body straight and tall, it also protects the delicate nervous tissue called the spinal cord, which serves as a link between our body and the brain. Though it takes a violent force to break our back or neck, most of the time the impact is so strong, that it damages our spinal cord resulting into partial or complete loss of function below the level of injury.Think of a healthy and young male or female becoming the prisoner of his/her own body, loosing control over his/her bowl and bladder, within a split second. One can easily imagine the level of frustration and anxiety this person will go through, yet there is another tragic twist to it. What if this young person was the only bread winner of a his/her family? That’s where breaking one’s back or neck can mount to a broken family, and believe it or not about 80% of our clients are the only bread winners of their respective families, while more then 90% live below the poverty line. Road traffic accidents being the #1 cause of spinal cord injuries, it mostly affect people below 40 in the developed countries, however, in Pakistan the mean age of our patients is 26 and falls from roof tops, trees, electric poles etc is the leading cause followed by an alarming rate of fire arm/gun shot wounds. (Refer to our Annual Report 2006, for other major causes of spinal cord injures in Pakistan). In monitory terms nothing is more expensive than treating and rehabilitating patients with spinal cord injuries and it mounts to millions of dollars to rehabilitate just one patient in Europe or USA. You will be glad, to know, that we achieve the same within a friction of that amount right here in Hayatabad, Peshawar. At the moment we use locally developed, low cost technology when it comes to the adoptive/supportive equipment, however, our Physical Rehabilitation protocols and Medical/Nursing care is 2nd to none in Pakistan. It take a great deal of courage and patience to work with Paraplegics and Quadriplegics for a long time, it will not be fair, not to recognize, all the staff members who have spared their lives to this noble cause. Paraplegic Center is home to many great souls who have sacrificed their own comfort to give hope to others. To most of us here at Paraplegic Center, it’s not a job, it’s a Mission and we pledge to transform Paraplegic Center Hayatabad, into a Center of Excellence for Patients, with spinal cord injuries from all over the country and the region, in next 5 years (Inshallah).
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|Mr. Zia-Ur Rehman, Ex-Secretary to Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa , Dept. of Finance||Chairman|
|Secretary to Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Dept. of Health||Member|
|Secretary to Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Dept. of Finance||Member|
|Secretary to Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Dept. of Social Welfare||Member|
|Secretary to Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Dept. of Planning & Development||Member|
|Dr. Rubina N.Gillani, Former Country Director Fred Hollows Foundation Pakistan||Member|
|Prof. Dr. Arshad Javaid, Vice Chancellor Khyber Medical University. Peshawar||Member|
|Prof. Dr. Ayaz Khan , Orthopedic & Spine Surgeon Khyber Teaching Hospital Peshawar||Member|
|Mr. Khwaja Yawar Naseer, Managing Director Frontier Model School & College Peshawar||Member|
|Engr. Maqsood Anwar Pervaiz President Chamber of Commerce & Industry Peshawar||Member|
|Dr. Syed Muhammad Ilyas,Chief Executive Officer , Paraplegic Center Peshawar||Member/Secretary|
|Health Department Govt. of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa|
|Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) Secretariat|
|International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC)|
|MiracleFeet , USA|
|Fred Hollow Foundations Australia (FHF)|
|Handicap International France|
|International Society of Wheelchair Professionals (ISWP)|
|Management Sciences for Health (MSH) America|
|Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) France|
|Helping Hand for Relief & Development (HHRD) USA|
|Children With Disabilities Program (CDWP) HHRD Islamabad|
|Institute of Rehabilitation Sciences (IRS) Mansehra|
|Tanzeem Lissaail Wal Mahroom Foundation (TLWMF) Peshawar|
|National Vocational & Technical Training Commission (NAVTCC) Peshawar|
|Pakistan Institute of Prosthetic & Orthotic Sciences (PIPOS) Peshawar|
|Akbar Kare Institute (AKI) Peshawar|
|Muzaffarabad Physical Rehabilitation Center (MPRC)|
|Hayatabad Medical Complex (HMC) Peshawar|
|Khyber Medical University (KMU) Peshawar|