SRINAGAR: Twenty-four-year-old MBA student Suhail Ahmad Akhoon’s day starts with a phone call from Dr. Seerat ul din to discuss the day plan for conducting medical and diagnostic imaging tests for the poor and needy.
Dr. Seerat, who is pursuing MBBS in Bangladesh and Suhail Akhoon, who is pursuing an MBA from the University of Kashmir, met on social media.
Suhail and Dr. Seerat are pooling their pocket money to help poor patients who can’t afford expensive medical tests. For the duo, it has been a work-in-progress since the pandemic broke out.
“For some time, I was very active on social media. I found some people needed medical help. I saw one family which was financially sound before lockdown. But now they are struggling to make their ends meet. Doctors had recommended some tests. Since I did not want to offend them, I told them that medical students get discounts from diagnostic centers. The reality is we pooled our money and got their tests done,” said Dr. Seerat.
This was the beginning of the mission by the two youngsters. Every time they come across a patient in need, they refer them to a diagnostic center and pay from their pocket. “Sometimes the patient falls short of money. We pay the center directly without informing the patient. The patient is only told that they have been given the discount,” said Dr. Seerat.
For Suhail, the mission to serve humanity started at a young age. He was in class 12 when he started visiting hospitals looking for the patients in need. From donating his pocket money to transporting them home, Suhail did everything to help the patents in distress.
“I used to donate pocket money to those patients who were in extreme need. This continued for a long time. Then I started helping patients by getting them appointments with doctors. Later I used to drop them home,” said Suhail.
Enter COVID lockdown; Suhail met Dr. Seerat on social media. Philanthropy was a common denominator and both decided to help patients with medical and diagnostic tests.
“We pool money from our own pockets to help patients. So far 150 patients have benefited. The beauty is that no one knows who pays for their tests. They think they are getting discounts. Most of the tests are done free. Some patients want to pay a certain amount. That way they feel satisfied,” he said.
Not only tests, but Suhail is also using his car to pick and drop patients who do not have transport. “If a male does not have his transport, I drop him on my bike. If some females need transport, I use my car. Sometimes I reach home late because patients have to be dropped at far off places,” he said