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The sound of Silence

A short story by Hamdan Ali Khan, 1st Year MBBS

The old man sat on the beach, barefooted and alone. Silence reigned everywhere except the occasional thrashing of waves which disturbed the acoustic equilibrium. Night it was, the sky filled with a million lanterns, the birds dozing off quietly and the sea like an old pirate sang a silent shanty. Oh! He missed his youth, when he could swim to the Black Rock without drowning, when he could shout at the vast ocean, his resonant voice fading upon the edges of horizon. But all good things come to an end, the voice that once resonated; now a husky whisper. The man who was the fastest swimmer; now an ancient remainder of time and its echoes. The doctors said he had terminal cancer that he would die in a week. He didn’t fear death, he had no family, nothing to lose except maybe the sight when someone would break his 50 years old record. The silence of the calm sea nurtured in him a desire to swim to the Black Rock once again, one last time. He …

SPWS Beat Hepatitis C, Treat Hepatitis C Campaign Report

By Farkhanda Qaiser (2nd Year)
& Shafaq Tabassum (3rd Year)
From 3rd to 7th May 2011, SPWS with the collaboration of APPNA took the initiative to launch a unique yet interactive week long campaign to educate medical students, patients, nurses and paramedical staff about hepatitis C. Moreover, barbers and beauticians of Anarkali and Neela Gumbad were also well informed about this infectious disease.
Under the able leadership of the Advisor In Chief, Rafeh Saeed (President SPWS 2011-2012, 4th Year) and the intense and dedicated hard work of Project Advisor, Ahmad Naseer (4th Year) and Project Director, Shafaq Tabassum (3rd Year), the following events were organized for the campaign,
1) Poster competition
2) Interactive Seminar
3) Awareness Campaign in various wards of Mayo Hospital
4) Visit to the barbers and beauticians
Moreover 5 Project Managers and 20 Project Organizers were selected from MBBS 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th Years who coordinated and meticulously organized all the above mentioned activities.
Name Of The Campaign:
After a lot of deliberation with the entire team of the project, it was decided to be:
‘Beat Hepatitis C, Treat Hepatitis C Campaign’
Colorful and eye catching charts, detailed notices and banners were pasted in all parts of the campus of KE. In addition, announcements were made in all classes to ensure that the message reached to the maximum number of people.
Poster Competition:
This was an exclusive attempt to spread awareness about Hepatitis C in a way that would appeal the general public. Students from MBBS, BDS, Vision Sciences, Physiotherapy and Allied Health Sciences were allowed to participate.
The Judges for this competition were Madam Tauseef, the college artist, KE; Madam Sara from PIPO and Dr. Inamullah from Mayo Hospital, Lahore.
As the campaign had been highly advertised so around 30 entries reached the SPWS office in OPD 19 in the week that had been allotted for this competition. The judges’ criteria for this poster competition were:
  • Only hand made posters were allowed.
  • Caption was compulsory.
  • One poster submitted by one person only.
  • Poster should depict some aspect of hepatitis C (precautions, causes, outcome etc)
  • Poster should be understandable by general community.
All the posters were displayed in the KE auditorium on the day of the seminar and were greatly liked by all present.
The winners were presented shields and certificates. They were:
  • Farah Huma (2nd Year)
  • Amber Batool (4th Year)
  • Rukhsaar Naseer (3rd Year)
The top 10 position holders were given certificates of appreciation. So overall this was a very successful aspect of the campaign which contributed in its own way to the publicity.
The highlights of the seminar were an interactive lecture, quiz competition and a superbly acted skit. Students of MBBS, PIPO, Physiotherapy and Allied Health Sciences attended this highly entertaining seminar. The Chief Guest was the honorable Vice Chancellor, Professor Dr Asad Aslam. All other professors were also invited to witness this great effort by the students.
After recitation from the Holy Quran, the hosts Farkhanda Qaiser (2nd Year) and Humaira Sarfraz (2nd Year) officially inaugurated the seminar by showing an introductory video about SPWS and its achievements. Then there was a very informative lecture on the causes, symptoms and treatment of Hepatitis C by Dr Asif, senior registrar, South Medical Ward. This lecture was followed by an interactive question & answer session with the audience. It was evidence enough that all the viewers had been attentively listening to their Professor’s lecture especially because it was aided by an interesting multimedia show.
However the best test of audience response was the subsequent quiz competition. Questions were shown on multimedia and audience given a chance to answer those questions. The main attraction were the gift hampers that were given to the winners and that encouraged a lot of students to actively participate in this competition.
This hyped up event was then proceeded by a video presentation about hepatitis C.
Then came the last and the best part of the seminar which was a very amusing skit acted and directed by students of MBBS 2nd Year. It highlighted the typical attitude of illiterate people towards social health workers whose task is to spread awareness of such infectious diseases as hepatitis C. After a series of events that included a reused blade at the local barber’s shop, the protagonist of the play contacted hepatitis C. He was then informed that this disease is very much curable and should have been prevented in the first place if all the precautions had been followed. Due to witty one liners and amazing acting, this play was a huge success among the audience.
And so this seminar ended after addresses by VC, Staff president and Staff Advisor. All of whom applauded the students on holding such a wonderful event.
Lastly refreshments were given to all.
Awareness Campaign:
Permission was granted by VC and M.S. to the team of Hepatitis C campaign to visit different wards of Mayo Hospital to spread awareness. 15 teams were formulated and 3 teams were sent to the wards daily. The following wards were covered,
  • 4 surgical units
  • 4 medical units
  • Urology
  • Dermatology
  • Psychiatry (Drug Addiction Rehabilitation Centre)
  • Orthopedics
  • OPD
Each team was led by one of the members of the organizing team. The volunteers were students of MBBS, PIPO, Physiotherapy and Allied Health Sciences. The total number of volunteers was about 150. They were first given instructions by their team leaders about the transmission, signs and symptoms, precautions, diet plan for hepatitis C patient, treatment and duties of medical and paramedical staff. Then these volunteers educated the patients, their relatives, nurses, ward boys and paramedical staff.
As most of these volunteers were 1st and 2nd year students so it was a totally new experience for them. Thus they were enthusiastic about interacting with patients and guiding them through their limited knowledge.
Moreover Posters about Hepatitis C were also displayed in all wards and brochures were distributed among all patients. All the organizers captured a lot of photographs of these memorable moments.
Total patients dealt with were 300. Out of them, 25 were HCV positive.
Thus another chapter of the Beat Hepatitis C, Treat Hepatitis C campaign came to an end.
Visit to Barbers and Beauticians:
Volunteers visited about 13 barbers and 6 beauticians in the adjoining areas of Neela Gumbad and educated them about hepatitis C. Informative posters were also pasted in Anarkali.
Thus a very extensive and well thought out awareness campaign was concluded at last. All the volunteers who were a part of the seminar as well as the campaign will be given certificates. It is hoped that this event will have far reaching affects and will be a means of saving lives. Kudos to SPWS and APPNA!


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