In January 2020, I and my daughter, Sarah Shaikh, a graduate student at Rice University, Houston, visited the SIUT hospital campus in Karachi, Pakistan. During the two-day visit on January 14 and 16, we had the opportunity to tour most of the facilities including the linear accelerator (LINAC), pharmacy, patient waiting areas, PET CT Scan device, new ICU area, file room, and the IT department’s data storage room and digitizing team.
SIUT North America donated the Linear Accelerator (LINAC) in October 2019, (See Exhibits A1, A2, A3, and A4). A new room was built to accommodate the new linear accelerator. Due to the mass of the machine, all linear accelerators were located on the ground floor in the Hanifa Suleman Dawood Oncology Centre (See Exhibit A5). To minimize radiation and shield health workers, patients would pass through a metal door, which was a couple of inches thick and an entrance maze that was wide enough to carry a stretcher. The room was well-lit, insulated from noise, and provided patients privacy for the procedure. During our visit, a representative of the manufacturer explained how the machine operates. Since the device installation, health workers received training before operating the LINAC. The new LINAC was inaugurated and conducted its first procedure a few days prior to our visit.
We observed the procedure in action from the older LINAC devices. Health workers used multiple screens – one was to operate the LINAC and the other showed live camera footage of the patient in the room. Patients were provided a blanket for an added sense of privacy and the actual radiation procedure was completed in under a minute.
As per our observation, the rooms designed for LINAC and all radiation devices follow guidelines provided by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs to ensure the safety of the health 1 workers and limit any stress for the patients.
Pharmacy & Waiting Area
SIUT specializes in urology and transplantation. Since inception, 40 years ago, SIUT successfully completed 6,500 transplants as of January 2020. A patient requiring an organ transplant can only receive it from a family member if there is a match. After the transplantation, patients are required to take medication to prevent the body from rejecting the foreign organ. We visited the pharmacy where patients receive their medication (See Exhibit B1) and the waiting area (See Exhibit B2). The waiting area was similar to those scattered throughout the campus and each waiting area was filled to capacity.
New Expansion and Construction
PET CT Scan
SIUT is continuously growing and expanding their facilities and equipment. A new wing in the hospital was under construction with a new PET CT scan (See Exhibit C). The new wing is modern, sleek, clean, and well-lit.
We had the opportunity to tour SIUT’s new, state-of-the-art ICU area, which was under construction. The ICU area consisted of two rooms and each room can accommodate up to 10 beds. Each ICU room was well-lit from all the natural light coming through the multiple windows along the walls. Additionally, there was a centralized nursing station in each room to attend to the ICU patients.
The large hospital serves all ages from kids to elders and provides services ranging from dialysis, outpatients, and transplants, SIUT has to deal with all the data. On a daily basis, SIUT sees 1,200 dialysis patients! Dr. Adeeb Rizvi, the founder of SIUT, has kept every file since the first patient. Forty years ago, all patient files were physical and even to this day they are physical. Older, dormant files are kept in a separate storage room (See Exhibit D1).
The IT department has a team who digitizes the older files (See Exhibit D2), once the files are scanned it is flagged with an orange sticker for easy identification (See Exhibit D3). As older files get digitized, the new and current patient files are also being digitized – a separate team works on digitizing the active files. SIUT is planning to be completely digital in the next 5-10 years.
As SIUT goes digital, the IT department accommodates for current and future data storage. The data room has three large AC units (See Exhibit E1), which run on alternate days for each fan’s longevity. Additionally, data racks line the center of the room (See Exhibit E2), which store the data. Most racks are empty to accommodate for future data expansion. Pakistan experiences frequent power shortages, which can lead to hardware damage, information loss, or serious business disruption. SIUT is equipped with multiple UPS (uninterruptible power supply) if the main power source fails (See Exhibit E3).
SIUT has kept all areas of its facility clean and spaces open to limit any unnecessary stress on the patients. We were fortunate enough to be invited for lunch with Dr. Adeeb Rizvi and his senior management to discuss the logistics and operations, patient care, future plans, and future fundraising events in USA (See Exhibit F). In conclusion, I must say that every penny donated by SIUT NA is well documented and utilized for the exact purposes and meets the mission statement of SIUT. I am satisfied with our ongoing fundraising drives, and I am confident that it will be used accordingly.
CPA Vice President
SIUT North America, Inc.