This coming Monday BBC 2 will be airing a documentary on Dr. Shershah Syed and following him around while he does his vital work and deals with the aftermath of the devastating floods.
I’m so honored to know Dr. Shershah. He’s my inspiration for the work I’ve been doing in Pakistan for the past year and without him there wouldn’t even be a project like ‘Every woman counts’ .
Dr. Shershah is such a unique person and not only inspires me but everyone he meets. Motivating countless doctors, midwifes and nurses to do the vital work they do. Never tired, always working and never giving up.
Coming from a family where everyone is a doctor, at first he wanted to be a journalist. But in true Pakistani tradition the rules were different as he says and he listened to his parents and did go to Medical college in the end. Becoming an obstetrician was not the an obvious and immediate choice he made either, but after a working trip to Kenya and seeing the work done there, he decided this was the part of health care where he could really make a difference.
Besides becoming a great gynaecologist, he also became the leading surgeon in Pakistan doing Fistula repair surgery. Fistula is a complication that arises after obstructed labour. The woman is left with chronic incontinence and, in most cases, a stillborn baby. The smell of leaking urine or faeces, is constant and humiliating, often driving loved ones away. Surgery can normally repair the injury, with success rates as high as 90% for experienced surgeons. The average cost of fistula treatment and post-operative care is just 300$. Sadly, most women with the condition do not know that treatment is available, or they cannot afford it. I’ve seen Dr. Shershah doing these repair surgeries every sunday for free thanks to the ‘End fistula campaign’ of UNFPA and the impact these operations have on the women’s lives is phenomenal. They literally get their life and dignity back.
In Khaipur and Thari Mirwah I saw him at work again and met Jane Corbin and Nikki Millard while they were making this documentary. Both true professionals and I’m sure their film will be great. So if you do have a chance to see it, tune in this coming Monday, 13th of December to BBC2.
During an audio interview I did with Dr. Shershah last October he quoted Dr. Fatali and I want to close this post off with that quote and what Dr. Shershah said. ‘It is not that we cannot treat our women. We can always treat our women, but the problem is society doesn’t value their women. If society values their women, then society will provide the resources to treat the women. I mean they are not dying because of some unknown disease… They are just dying because of the bleeding, infections and hypertension… in not a single civilized country people die because of these problems.’