Speaking with one of the best people in any field has its disadvantage; they do not talk much about themselves and would rather speak endlessly about the things closest to them, which most of the time, is their profession.
However, at times, talking about a person’s passion gives one an insight into their personality as well.
Dressed in a crisp blue dress shirt and white trousers, Peer Mohammed Diwan is at once firm about his ideas and humble in his conduct. The very combination which keeps him rooted in reality and just recently made him forge ahead with his plan to build an
11-acre hospital out of a dilapidated trauma center.
It is quite clear with the way he speaks about the hospital, Memon Medical Institute (MMI), whose foundation he laid a year back, that the venture is really close to his heart. “To talk about the problems would be useless now but yes I had to run around a lot to buy it, but it was all worth it,” he adds with a smile.
Living in Lea Market for the most part of his young life, Peer Mohammed Diwan has roots in India’s Junahgarh State. After migrating to Pakistan in 1947 with his family, he lived in a camp for a few months till they got a home of their own.
Just 14 at the time, his brother and he would make plans about owning their own industries. Laughing at the thought, he says that it sounded like one of those pacifying ideas with which you could evade reality, but that is exactly what happened later on.
“We used to study at a night school, and afterwards, make plans for the future, which ultimately all of us friends achieved in our own ways,” he says, his face all glowing by remembering the past which he says gives him the courage to go forward even now.
Talking about his family’s migration from India, Diwan says that he has not felt like going back. “In 1988, after 40 years of living in Pakistan, I thought that we are better off here,” he says in a simple tone.
Once again he reverts to his favorite topic, MMI, and says that he has seen to it that it caters to the basic needs of the general public without turning them back if they cannot afford to pay. “The patients would only be turned back if we do not have the service they need; otherwise the hospital is made for them, and has state-of-the-art equipments for their facility.”
With the obvious need for well-equipped hospitals, Diwan says that Karachi needs at least 10 more hospitals like MMI, because there is a tremendous incidence of preventable diseases which are spreading due to a dearth of healthcare facilities. “I feel that most of these problems can be undone if the government shows some interest,” he adds politely.
Giving his own example, Diwan says that there was no encouragement from the government’s for him to turn the dilapidated dump into a hospital for people coming in from far and wide. Talking quietly he says that what matters is the initiative and consistency of an individual and says that anything can be done only if one feels it can be done.
Though sporadic efforts to initiate medical tourism have taken place in Pakistan, Diwan feels that a more concerted effort with a far reaching goal by the government is needed as well. “We need to expand our horizons and for that we will need to come out of our comfort zone and interact with the people from other countries.” He says that Pakistan can learn a lot from the expertise and researches by foreigners and similarly can help them too with our expertise.
The MMI, which is going to be inaugurated on the July 31, has been constructed largely on the basis of funds and donations from people who deemed Diwan worthy of their trust. “Just last Saturday, we were sitting with the office bearers, and we were all a bit worried about the finances. In just about a day after that, we got a lot of donations from so many people that it completely moved me,” he says.
The MMI will generate its own power supply, Diwan says, so as to avoid the horrors of loadshedding. Moreover, whatever amount of money they are going to spend on poor patients will in return be subsidised.
Diwan says that more than doctors, he and his team have invested a lot in the nursing staff. “Having a trained nurse makes it very easy for the doctors, and for that we can not thank Aga Khan University Hospital enough for the superb job they have done in training the nurses.”
Before he could be asked about what he likes to do in his free time, he was out in no time to attend a meeting and requested politely to take a round of the hospital before leaving.