A glimmer of hope | Political economics

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Jhe elderly center at Liaquat National Hospital and Medical College is a unique project in Pakistan. It was created in October 2019 and responds to the needs of people over 65 who feel lonely and alienated.

It was inaugurated by writer Anwar Maqsood.

Dr. Mahreen Raza is currently in charge of the facility. When an elderly person comes to the centre, they normally undergo standardized tests by a team consisting of a qualified psychologist, a general practitioner, a specialist in family medicine and a dietitian. Said citizen’s vital signs are checked. If they are already taking prescribed medication, trained nurses make sure they get their medication on time. This is especially important given the memory loss and forgetfulness that often accompany old age.

Dr. Syeda Samrina, who is a Dietitian and Nutritionist (RDN) of the Pakistan Society of Nutrition and Dietetics (PNDS), is currently a Food Specialist at the Centre. She is also pursuing a Masters in Public Health (MSPH) at the Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Institute of Science and Technology (SZABIST). The health and fitness clinic serves all age groups and all kinds of issues, ranging from child nutrition to adult nutrition, weight loss and obesity issues .

“As a nutrition and fitness specialist, my job is to provide detailed nutritional advice to patients along with diet plans and training advice to accompany them. The clinic also caters to new mothers with postpartum weight gain issues and PCO-related issues,” she says.

There are currently about 35 seniors at the center. A full day at the center includes lunch under the guidance of a dietitian. Several board games and arts and crafts facilities are offered at the center. There is also a flower shop and bookstore within the compound for the convenience of citizens. There is a trainer on site who helps seniors with music and movies. For women who observe purdah a private space is provided, separated from the rest by a screen. You can see a footpath outside and also a horticultural service that guides seniors who want to indulge in gardening. There is also a leafy cricket ground within the compound. Former Test cricketer Sadiq Mohammad visits once a month. According to Anjum Rizvi, the senior public relations manager, activity at the center has dwindled during the pandemic, but things are looking up now. The future looks bright for seniors who choose to join the center.


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