Irta’ash Foundation is a registered health sector social venture incorporated under ‘The Societies Registration Act, 1860 [XXI of 1860] Government of Sindh’. It screens leukemia (blood cancer) suffered children from rural areas who are considered to be in the initial stages of this deadly disease and refer them to the charitable tertiary healthcare hospital for their timely treatment so that, patient could be cured on time before going towards later incurable severe stages. During treatment, if any admitted patient having attendants who belongs to an unprivileged family and financially unstable to get shelter and food, Ira’ash would help them during eight months of therapy if needed. Irta’ash is completely a novel and genuine concept that has been formulated under the guidance and supervision of qualified doctors which are part of its team. None of its part is copied or replicated from any of the existing social enterprises or ventures.
Formation of Irta’ash
The inspiration for establishing IRTA’ASH came from a seven years old child named Anabiya Ziauddin, who was suffering from Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL), a type of blood cancer. She was under treatment since 2014 and was a relapsed case, reported with 8% blasts in her blood test.
In April 2017, five students of IBA Aman Centre for Entrepreneurial Development (CED) visited her and enquired about her health. Keeping her mother unaware, the duty doctor informed that Anabiya has less chances of survival as she is at the high-risk stage. Though Anabiya was apparently fit and could walk easily but inside she was dying.
Her father was mentally retarded person and she was looked after by her mother alone. Initially, CED students thought to help her mother financially but they soon realize that they should go for some other options to find out any possibility to save her life. They forwarded medical reports to all of those doctors whom they knew. Meanwhile, they also visited various renowned hospitals dealing cancer patients, however almost all of them had refused by saying that they prefer to admit those cancer patients whom are considered to be in their initial stages of leukemia or they have no such facility to treat patients like Anabiya.
During their efforts they also came across some information that Anabiya could be treated through ‘bone marrow’ transplantation for which chemotherapy is mandatory and Anabiya couldn’t sustain as she was just only seven. Even doctors had also said that as per her medical condition if they go for chemotherapy then she would have only 30% to 35% of survival chances and could be expired during her treatment. In continuation of on-going efforts, a group of three students visited governor secretariat with an appeal to save Anabiya’s life. The then hounourable former Governor of Sindh, Muhammad Zubair showed his serious consideration over the case and assured his full cooperation and support to them. But such efforts were time taking and Anabiya’s health was deteriorating with every passing minute. On 1st Ramzan-ul-Mubarak, 28th May 2017 at 9:45 p.m. the day came when Anabiya left us all to rest in eternal world.
The incident of Anabiya highlighted the lack of screening mechanism for leukemia (blood cancer) suffered patients in existing health care system in Pakistan which is a vital procedure in early diagnosis of such deadly diseases as suggested by world health organization (WHO) in its recent report. On 22nd July 2017, model of Irta’ash was designed based on four-pronged mechanism for early detection of leukemia suffered children from rural areas. It was presented before the Management of IBA AMAN (CED) which was greatly appreciated and later allowed for its incubation.
Now Irta’ash runs its operations as Irta’ash Foundation, which is a registered body with seventeen members management team.