Hospitals in Muslim areas being built at frenzied pace


TIMES NEWS NETWORK [ MONDAY, JULY 01, 2002  10:20:50


AHMEDABAD: Fears of communal bias kept them away from

Civil and LG Hospital. Attack by communal elements

right inside the VS Hospital compound shattered their

faith in the most preferred hospital. Self-help then

has become the buzzword with Muslims, who are now

working hard towards creating better health facilities

right in the convenience of ghettos itself.

Almost all the big Muslim ghettos in the strife-torn

Ahmedabad have already got or are in the process of

building big hospital projects. The underlying urgency

here is to eliminate dependence on the far-off public

hospitals and do away with the fears of venturing into

risky areas for medical treatment .

Take for example Juhapura, one of the biggest Muslim

ghettos in Gujarat with a population of over 2.5

lakhs. Here, the 65-bedded Iqraa Hospital that was in

the pipeline since the last three years was

commissioned in four months flat and made operational

in April, 2002.

"Riots gave a big push in expediting the commissioning

of the hospital. Earlier, there were problems in

fund-raising but the need to have a health facility

was acutely felt during the recent riots", says Prof

Abdul Rahim Sheikh, one of the trustees of Iqraa


Likewise, there is Faize-e-Qutbi Hospital in Raikhad,

an ultra-modern hospital in Lokhandwala Complex in

Dariapur and another 200-bed state-of-the-art hospital

multi-speciality in Juhapura that are in various

stages of development. Construction has picked up

substantially after the riots.

Riots had thrown up some unprecedented challenges for

the Muslim population in Ahmedabad as communal

disturbances forced most Hindu doctors to close shop

in the Walled city.

With Muslim doctors constituting a negligible 2-3 per

cent of the total medico population in the city, safe

access to doctors was a tall order for the 11 per cent

Muslim population in Ahmedabad. 

So much so that the lone large-scaled Muslim hospital

had to summon help of Muslim doctors from outside

Gujarat. Al Amin Hospital in Gomtipur had its hands

full with hundreds of patients pouring in from

Gomtipur, Dariapur, Kalupur and other sensitive areas.

But all of the 50 honorary Hindu doctors associated

with the hospital had expressed their inability to

stick their necks out and come to work in this

sensitive area!

"The Hindu doctors had left during the riots for

obvious reasons but have resumed their services now

that the violence has ebbed", says medical in-charge

of Al Amin , Dr S Kazi. Kazi confesses that there are

just not enough Muslim doctors in the city and are

especially lacking in super-speciality fields like

neuro-surgery, plastic surgery and other surgical


There is reportedly no Muslim anaesthetist in

Ahmedabad and an appeal for the services of the same

had to be broadcast on TV channels when violence was

at its peak during the riots. Responding to one such

appeal was Dr Ayub Juneja, who was quick to shift base

from Vadodara to Ahmedabad. "I was settled in Vadodara

and was contemplating returning back to Saudi Arabia,

when I saw this appeal and thought it fit to render my

services when the community was in trouble", Juneja

told TNN. Juneja feels that Muslim doctors are

especially lacking in neuro and plastic surgery.

Those co-ordinating the Muslim hospital projects are

aware of this shortage but concede that services of

the Hindu doctors are not as difficult to come by. "We

have 10 Hindu doctors who render honorary services.

Initially, they are a little reluctant but the problem

has been easily resolved", says Prof Sheikh.


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