Last month, I was struck by Covid-19 and had to be hospitalised. I was blessed and lucky to get admission in the Pak Emirates Military Hospital, Rawalpindi (PEMH). While I have been regularly contributing to The Nation on various issues confronting Pakistan, I thought it appropriate to acknowledge the substantive work being done by the Covid warriors in the military.
My condition was quite alarming, with lungs badly affected and persistent fever and cough. The moment I got admitted, it appeared that the angels of the military hospital descended on my room.
From Major General Shazia and Brigadier Khalid to Major Annum and the staff, everyone made me so comfortable and boosted my morale to an extent that I started my fight against Covid-19 with new zeal and enthusiasm. With the blessing of Almighty Allah and the sustained care of the hospital staff, I was back on my feet within a week’s time.
I am sure doctors and staff across Pakistan, civil or military, are working with the same spirit and proficiency; however, Pak Emirates Military Hospital Rawalpindi has established an international reputation due to efficient management and professionalism of the officers and staff. With state-of-the-art facilities, round-the-clock supervision of patients and timely interventions, PEMH may be one of the best hospitals to treat Covid-19.
The hospital follows an efficient screening system for Covid patients, the state of cleanliness and upkeep of systems is outstanding and the Covid SOPs and protocols are followed in letter and spirit. From the Commandant to the duty NCOs and medical specialists to duty medical officers, from the kitchen staff serving excellent food to physiotherapists helping patients and from senior AFNS nurses to the ward boys who would administer medicines and nebulise the patients; everyone has a smiling face, as keeping up the morale of the patients is considered half of the treatment and recovery as the prime objective.
Pak Emirates Military Hospital Rawalpindi has undergone an evolutionary process, from the old MH established by the British in barracks to the state-of-the-art facility built with the kind courtesy of the UAE. Pak Emirates Military Hospital has also reached its present shape through personal efforts of the COAS, General Qamar Javed Bajwa.
It may be acknowledged that it is one of the projects underway in Pakistan under the directives of the President of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan. During the opening ceremony, General Qamar Bawja delivered a speech in which he thanked President UAE Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan for their continuous support to Pakistan.
Unfortunately, some factions in Pakistan keep criticising Pak-Arab relations without realising that our Arab brothers and sisters have a special relationship with Pakistan and their contribution in developing projects like Pak Emirates Military Hospital is a testimony to this eternal relationship. I would like to personally thank the UAE leadership for helping Pakistan build such state-of-the-art facilities.
PEMH has remained on the frontlines to treat officers and soldiers as well as their families in peace and war, however its current fight against the Covid-19 has made it one of the best facilities in Pakistan to help patients recover from the lethal disease. Another important factor to mention is the research being conducted by PEMH on Covid-19. Since the establishment of Covid wards in PEMH, the hospital has become a major research facility in collaboration with Chinese and other international medical experts. The treatment regimen and protocols developed by PEMH are being replicated all across Pakistan and the research is being shared with the international community for helping fight the global pandemic.
It may not be out of place to mention the personal risk taken by doctors and staff while treating Covid patients. Patients admitted in hospital have all the potential to transfer the disease to doctors and staff. The doctors and staff have families, just like us, and their daily routine of round the clock attendance of Covid patients carries the risk of transmitting the disease to their loved ones. My personal appreciation goes to the entire chain of command for helping patients like me to recover and rejoin the families in record time. The doctors and staff leave no stone unturned till the patient fully recovers, weekends or Eid, Ramzan or working days, the hospital is working like a clock, day and night.
Even after discharge from hospital, the doctors and staff extend their advisory services for review and rehabilitation. I would especially mention Major General Shazia for her kind support to me, even after getting discharged from PEMH, my review was conducted by Major General Shazia during Eid holidays.
Why I have termed these doctors and staff as angels, honestly speaking I could find no other appropriate words for their kindness, professionalism and personal attention. I would once again thank the Commandant of the Hospital and the staff for serving the people of Pakistan and the armed forces with dedication and professionalism.