Resurrecting Jinnah hospital, one wall at a time
On a slightly cold December morning, young medical students gathered at Jinnah-Post Graduate Medical Centre (JPMC) to clean and beautify the landscape — their act of homage to the founder of the nation, Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, on his birthday.
The stage was set by Patients Helping Hands (PHH), an NGO run by JSMU students to help uplift the otherwise-neglected, largest public sector hospital in Sindh.
PHH members were present in numbers, joined by Visual Artist Munawar Ali Syed and representatives from Engro Corporation.
They began by cleaning the walls around OPD and Emergency departments. Posters and pamphlets stuck on the walls were removed, and the walls whitewashed.
Munawar Ali Syed, a teacher at Karachi University and Indus Valley School of Art & Architecture, said the project took them four days. “It took us a fair bit of planning and management to get this on the event date,” he said.
Syed explained that first they had to identify the walls they would paint. Then they had to arrange the clean-up, and finally, the whitewashing to prepare the wall for paint. Syed has participated in a similar campaign; a few months back, he painted walls across the city with I AM KARACHI.
He also runs a Facebook group called “Range de Karachi” — an community of people who carry out similar painting campaigns and activities, to fill Karachi with some new colour and breathing space.
PHH member Aryba Jawaid, who managed the day’s proceedings, said that the project was sponsored and coordinated by by Engro Vopak Terminal Limited as part of the company’s Corporate Social Responsibility activities.
“We have carried out a lot of development work at JPMC, but this beautification campaign was on our cards for a long time. Finally, we are doing it,” said Aryba.
She felt the main motive was to give visitors a better place to come to. The walls near the psychiatric and urology wards, the JPMC entrance, the main OPD and the entrance of JSMU were all painted. A total of 40-50 students from the university participated in the activity.
Islam Ahmed, former president of PHH, said that permissions are usually a hurdle when one plans to do something good for a government-run facility. “But this time around,” he added. “The director of JPMC has been very cooperative and facilitative throughout the campaign.”
Director JPMC Dr Aneesudin Bhatti concurred. “Why would I stop people from doing something good for the hospital and for the people who come here?” he stated, pointing out how no one takes permission to paste political posters on walls.
Dr Bhatti said the university had faced some minor clashes over the issue of putting up posters “However, I am making efforts in forming a vigilant and resourceful committee to help us get rid of this menace,” he asserted.
To prevent the newly-painted walls from being covered by ugly posters and wall chalking, Dr Bhatti has already asked the guards to be wary and vigilant in case of any vandalism.
A total of 40-50 students showed up to participate in the day’s activities