Prominent Pakistani expats gathered support for the Indus Hospital during a gala dinner at Hilton Dubai, Al Habtoor City on Thursday. (L to R) Afsheen; Dr Abdul Bari Khan, Founder and CEO, IHHN; Dr Amber, Salim Tabani, Arif Lakhani, and Ahad Thumbi Image Credit: Angel Tesorero/Gulf News

Dubai: Leaders from the Pakistani expat community in the UAE, including businessmen, professionals and prominent individuals, attended the annual fundraising gala dinner for the benefit of ‘Indus Hospital and Health Network’ (IHHN) on Thursday.

IHHN, a self-sustaining health network which solely relies on public donations, provides quality care that is free-of-cost to millions of underprivileged citizens in Pakistan.

IHHN Founder and CEO Dr Abdul Bari Khan told Gulf News Thursday’s fundraiser (at Hilton Dubai, Al Habtoor City) was a sold-out charity event. Last year, there was no face-to-face gala dinner due to the COVID-19 situation then, but this year around 300 Pakistani expats were in attendance, he said.

Around 300 Pakistani expats attended the event Image Credit: Angel Tesorero/Gulf News

Dr Bari added that the purpose of the gathering was to raise funds for the 1,350-bed hospital expansion and medical university being constructed in Karachi. He said: “Our aim is to open it in 2023. It will be the biggest charity hospital in Pakistan, providing comprehensive quality care to indigent patients.”

Compassionate hospital

Dr Bari founded IHHN in 2007. Starting with only one hospital in Karachi, IHHN is now managing multiple tertiary and secondary-care hospitals, physical rehabilitation centres, regional blood centres, community health centres, and various public health programmes across Pakistan.

Image Credit: Angel Tesorero/Gulf News

“IHHN’s vision is to create an excellence-driven, comprehensive, compassionate, cashless, and replicable healthcare system accessible to all. Our primary funding comes from the Pakistani nationals residing inside and outside our country. IHHN is partnering with individuals, corporates, international donor agencies, educational institutions, international affiliations, and the provincial and federal government of Pakistan,” he said.

Dr Bari added that around 500,000 patients are being treated by IHHN monthly and more than 10,500 children have been treated for cancer and blood diseases. Over 9,000 patients have also received prosthetic and orthotic devices at no cost to patients and their families.

Network in Dubai

IHHN’s international chapter in Dubai serves to raise funds through events and activities by creating awareness about the hospital’s efforts in Pakistan among the Pakistani community residing in the UAE. Indus Hospital UAE branch is registered with International Humanitarian City in Dubai, said Dr Bari.

Every year, Pakistani expats in the UAE gather support for IHNN, irrespective of age, gender, religion, race, or financial status.

Prominent Pakistani banker Arif Lakhani, who was the Thursday event's organiser, said: “By mobilising businessmen, individuals and volunteers, we aim to make free-of-cost healthcare a reality for everyone who could not afford it.”

Shabbir Merchant

Pakistani businessman Shabbir Merchant, who is one of the supporters of IHHN, said: “The IHHN team is very strong and hardworking. We want them to continue providing quality healthcare services free-of-cost to underserved people back in our home country. IHHN does not make any demand; anyone can contribute based on their ability and capacity.”