Dr. Palwasha Ghafoor had the chance to come home for Eid. Instead she chose not to abandon her patients in the UK amid the pandemic.

When the people of UK salute my country, Pakistan, because of the work the other Pakistani doctors are doing, it makes me really proud of who I am and where I come from.

As Eidul Fitr rolls around each year, most relish a chance to spend quality time with their loved ones and take much needed respite from their daily routine.

The novel coronavirus pandemic, however, has meant this Eid came and went like no other before it.

Still, imagine being unable to even have that brief respite that many of us were still able to enjoy. And imagine being in that situation thousands of miles from your family.

Dr. PaIwasha Ghafoor, for one, doesn't need to imagine. The 32year-old who hails from a small village in FR Dera Ismail Khan and currently works for the United Kingdom's National Health Service.
Eid was dedicated to higher calling ''serving humanity''.

''I have been living in the UK for three years now to complete my specialisation,'' Dr. Palwasha told The Express Tribune from Plymouth's Derriford Hospital. ''This year I had planned on coming home for Eid. I wanted very much to spend time with my parents.''

''But even though my leave was approved during Ramazan, I just couldn't bring myself to do so,'' she said. ''The patients I had been looking after in intensive care , the worsening Covid-19 situation in the UK. I just couldn't abandon my duty at this time.''

As the rest of the world observed Eid and celebrated in whatever way we could, Dr. PaIwasha remained in ICU tending to those on ventilators.

''It is not unusual for us to spend as much as 13 hours a day in the ICU with our patients. Many doctors, including those of Pakistani descent, have already lost their lives trying to save people from Covid-19.

Even so, Dr. Palwasha said the success stories keep them going. ''Just sometime back, a 30-year old patient recovered after five weeks in the ICU. That was really encouraging for all of us,'' she said.
''If even one person's life is saved because of you, there's no greater success.''

Asked what inspired her to be courageous in such testing times, Dr. Palwasha pointed to her father.

''He is a child specialist. He heads the children ward in DI Khan, District Headquarters Hospital and he made it his mission to save every child.

''It was his example that taught me you have to save and serve humanity no matter what, regardless of race or religion.''

The World Students Society thanks author, Ahtesham Khan.


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