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Dastangoi: an evening of storytelling at the PBS Annual Dinner


​​​​​If the Patients' Behbud Society for AKUH (PBS) were to tell its own story, it would begin by describing a dedicated group of citizens who came together in 2001, to create a society that would facilitate the access of zakat mustehiq patients to high quality healthcare. The Society was formed as an independent legal entity, governed by a committee of well-respected members of society.

Mr Ebrahim Sidat, a founding member of the PBS Committee and the recently retired Country Managing Partner and CEO of Ernst & Young Ford Rhodes Sidat Hyder (Ernst & Young - Pakistan) describes the early days of PBS:

"It goes back to the early nineties, when the then President of the Aga Khan University Hospital (AKUH) desired me to advise whether AKUH may raise zakat funds from prospective donors who would like to contribute specifically to provide medical assistance for treating needy and indigent patients at AKUH. The principal mandate was to articulate a system which is Shariah compliant and formally and legally institutionalised."

By December 2016, PBS had disbursed Rs 970 million to support over 30,000 patient visits to AKUH.

On February 23, 2017, PBS hosted a dinner at the Stadium Road Complex to recognise the donors and members of management who have made its journey successful. The highlight of the event was a mesmerising session of dastangoi or storytelling by Fawad Khan, Nazrul Hassan and Syed Messam Naqvi. The talented trio is reviving this ancient art form and taking it to new heights. Earlier in the evening the Chairman of PBS, Mr Monem and the President of the Aga Khan University Hospital, Mr Firoz Rasul, welcomed the guests and updated them on the progress and impact of their donations.

Mr Firoz Rasul addressed the guests at the dinner saying: "All of you who provide zakat, are providing care to those who need it most. Thank you for your support".

Two leading specialists, Dr Adnan Jabbar, associate professor and section head, oncology, and Dr Babar Hasan, associate professor of paediatrics and child health, described some of the most complex patient survivals that have been made possible through the financial support provided by PBS.

As Dr Babar Hasan said: "Paediatric patients with complicated disease require specialised care. For many it is not affordable. Welfare and zakat is their only hope to get multidisciplinary care, essential if any improvement is to be expected." 

In its first year after inception, PBS disbursed Rs 4 million to 153 patients. From this modest beginning, PBS increased its disbursement by its 15th year of operation, to Rs 149 million. Over 3,000 patient visits were supported in 2016: 14.32% of the zakat was channeled towards Paediatrics, 13.63% to Neurosurgery, 10% to Orthopedics and Paeds Cardiology respectively, 8% to General Surgery and the remainder to other specialties.

During 2016, PBS received Shariah Certification. This Certification was awarded after a thorough review of the zakat collection and disbursement process by highly respected scholars, Mufti Ahmed Essa and Mufti Ahmad Afnan.