Kamran Hashim / Rafiq Vayani
The biggest challenge being faced by the health sector in Karachi is extreme shortage of trained para-medical staff and emergency medical services. This was stated by Mr. Malik Ahmad Jalal, Chief Executive Officer of The Aman Foundation who is now turning out to be a familiar name in health and education sectors in Pakistan.
Speaking exclusively with the team of Biz Today, Mr. Jalal stressed upon the need of government’s intervention in the health sector as it is primarily the government’s responsibility to provide basic facilities of health and education to the public.
Mr. Jalal informed that; “The social sector is neglected and it is struggling hard to minimize the gap between the scale of the challenges and available resources to address them. The gap between resources and the challenges is too wide”.
He further commented; “currently Aman Foundation is serving the health sector with 80 fully equipped ambulances out of which 65 are always on the road, whereas a mega city like Karachi should have at-least 150 life-saving ambulances on the road and a back-up of another 25. Our charges are nominal as compared to the cost, and our ambulances are equipped with a basic-life-support trained driver, paramedic staff plus the availability of first aid, oxygen tanks, defibrillator, automatic suction machines, spine-board and head immobilizer. Aman Ambulances are certified as ISO 9001-2015”.
When asked about the cost involved, Mr. Jalal said, “A single, fully equipped ambulance costs PKR 6.5 million and has an operational/running cost of PKR 6.0 million per annum, for which we raise donations or seek government support”.
Why does Karachi need 150 ambulances? “It’s all about those critical moments in saving lives. Right now our target response time is 12 minutes but due to a shortage of ambulances, our ambulances reach their sites at an average time of 16 minutes, which needs to be reduced to 12 minutes. To upgrade our fleet to 150 ambulances requires upfront investment for which we seek help from the private and public sectors”.
CEO of Aman Foundation elaborated on other health care services Aman Foundation provides, “Apart from ambulance care, others services offered by Aman Foundation are Aman Community Health Program in Ibrahim Hyderi Goth which offers free medical services at the door-steps. TeleHealth with number 9123, a free telephonic service for direct medical assistance or referral to around 19,000 doctors in its database. Aman’s Urban Health Institute has trained almost 27,000 professionals in basic healthcare and is permitted by the American Heart Association to provide paramedic training. KMPG and Ferguson are our external auditors to ensure financial and operational transparency in our service”.
Some other aspects of Aman Foundation mentioned by CEO Aman Foundation are; “Apart from health sector Aman Foundation is also contributing in the education sector and we have one of the most advanced vocational training institutes in Pakistan, AmanTech. AmanTech was awarded the Best Vocational Training Centre in South Asian” by City & Guilds UK. Till-date 8600 students have graduated from AmanTech with a 70% jobs-placement rate. We currently offer 12 trades along with stitching courses for females as well.
Finally on Aman Foundation Mr. Jalal said that; “Right now Aman Foundation is only operational in the southern part of Sindh which includes Karachi, Thatta and Sujawal, but plans are to expand to other parts of Sindh and eventually take our service across Pakistan in collaboration with the government and private partners.
On the concluding note Mr. Malik Ahmad Jalal said that; “The slightest difference between charity and philanthropy is; charity is short-termed and about providing immediate relief, whereas philanthropy is for the long term, to build capacity in becoming better individuals and overall building a self-sustaining community. Karachi-ites spirit of giving inspires me and my colleagues at Aman and it shows that individuals committed to a mission can make a real difference.”