The Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplantation (SIUT) held its 22nd and 23rd Student Volunteer Program from the 13th to the 24th of June, 2011. 205 students from government and private schools all over Karachi participated in the two week-long programs. Each student completed 30 hours of training and volunteer work. Volunteers were divided into small groups and assigned various duties across the facility; in wards, outpatient departments, reception and record room.
Chair person of the RGO Kishwar Zehra commended the willingness of the young volunteers and said, “2146 students from schools all over Karachi have so far come out to help us and have picked up important life experience along the way.” “The students were particularly helpful in, and touched by, the pediatric ward. Here they assisted parents and nurses and proved to be a great source of joy and entertainment for children admitted to the urology and nephrology wards.” All the students took turns with more rigorous chores like cleaning the old record room and reorganizing files while others met with transplant patients and came to appreciate their stories and struggles.
Students attended informative medical lectures on hepatitis and diabetes, as well as heart conditions and kidney failure. The lectures were conducted by specialist doctors. Dr Anwar Naqvi said, “The primary purpose of these lectures is to help students recognize and respond to emergency situations. With increased awareness at an early age, the students also learn to appreciate the importance of preventive measures.” He also added, “Volunteers should strictly adhere to the standard monitoring and controlling systems and the rules determined by SIUT to facilitate the patients in the best way possible.”
Interactive multimedia sessions are also organized as part of the program. These range from the history of SIUT’s voluntary base to discussions on ethics in medicine. There was a detailed session on illegal organ trade and the new laws for its prevention.
The program concluded with a certificate distribution ceremony where Dr. Adibul Hasan Rizvi welcomed parents and volunteers. He said was very optimistic to see the energy and enthusiasm of all the young volunteers and encouraged them to take charge of their lives. He went on to say, that “The idea of voluntary service must be widespread to help address health issues on a national scale.”
Students participating in SIUT's volunteer program benefit from the hands on activities in the wards, which for many of them, proves to be an invaluable experience. For many it changes their perspective on life. By interacting with patients from less privileged backgrounds and appreciating their willingness to face life, the students pick up important values. In this positive environment they develop their confidence, social-skills and a sense of charity and social-responsibility.