RADHA SHARMA TIMES NEWS NETWORK [ MONDAY, JULY 01, 2002 10:20:50 PM] http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow.asp?art_id=14692957 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 Hospital. 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 specialities. 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.