Pakistani child gets healing touch in India
On a political level, they may fight tooth and nail, but on a personal
level, people from India and Pakistan share one another’s anguish.
Khadija, 21 months old, is the latest example of how Indian doctors
rose to the occasion to extend a healing touch. Moreover, they did it
free of cost.
Little over a month ago, the girl was staring blankly at people around
her, trying to figure out what they were saying. Born deaf, she had
come to the Apollo Hospitals for a cochlear implant surgery, the first
such case from across the border.
The operation was done free of cost by the hospital, with financial
assistance from the Society to Aid the Hearing Impaired (SAHI), and
help from the Confederation of Voluntary Associations (COVA). As you
read the story, the girl is recovering at her home in Karachi,
“We have switched on the machine and she is doing well. With proper
rehabilitation for the next one year or more, she should be like any
ordinary girl, hearing and talking in a normal manner,” says Dr.
Vinaya Kumar E.C., ENT consultant.
Such operations usually cost up to Rs. 12 lakh. However, SAHI
intervention meant that Adnan Adeel, an electrical engineer from
Karachi, and his wife Sahar Bano, had to just bear travel and boarding
expenses, for the operation of their second daughter.
“I didn’t realise that she was born deaf till she was 15 months old.
When I took her to a hospital, I was told she needed the cochlear
implant, and it would cost up to 2.5 million Pakistan rupees,” he
It was while searching the Internet that he chanced upon the Apollo
Hospitals-SAHI initiative, and sent them an e-mail, as these
operations weren’t very common in his country.“I took out all my
savings, raised a loan, and even began scouring for donations, as it
is my responsibility to give her a better life. Except for SAHI, no
one responded,” he explains.
“We have helped in 100 cochlear implant operations, yet this was the
first request from abroad. We were apprehensive at first, and then
realised that we are here to help any needy child,” says Dr. Sunita
Reddy, Director, Vijay Group, and a SAHI member.
Mr. Adeel was prepared to go to any length for his ‘little one,’
though he had some initial apprehension regarding taking a “risk” and
coming to India. But ever since he landed here in the first week of
August, he has been overwhelmed by the “fantastic response” from the
The couple, who celebrated Ramzan Id here, soon realised that many of
the local dishes were very similar to Pakistan — only the names
differed. There were also some setbacks, like the police issuing a
notice threatening to cancel his visa for participating in a public
meeting organised by COVA for the joint Independence Day celebrations
of India & Pakistan. A few right-wing activists had created a scene,
alleging that a Pakistan flag was being hoisted, before the police
If all this has shaken the 32-year-old’s feeling of gratitude, he
doesn’t show it. “My daughter got a new life here. The love, affection
and care extended to us are beyond my expectations. These memories
will remain lifelong; I came here as a family of three, and I am
returning home with a large family,” he smiles, preparing for the