KARACHI: A ceremony was held on Friday to acknowledge and appreciate efforts of 18 students, all being treated at a hospital for various illnesses, who have successfully passed elementary level education under a programme organised by the health facility.

A large number of people including families of students and members of The Indus Hospital (TIH) faculty attended the event.

“Education and schools are an integral part of every child’s life but children suffering [from] cancer and other chronic diseases in Pakistan have to forego not just their schooling, but also social gatherings and public outings,” Dr Shamvil Ashraf, the executive director of Indus Health Network (IHN) Medical Services, said.

Evidence from existing hospital schooling programmes suggested that transitioning back to school after a prolonged treatment could be both emotionally and academically tough, he pointed out, while appreciating services of volunteer teachers and supporters.

Dr Abdul Bari Khan, the chief executive officer of IHN also spoke. Students received their graduation certificates at the end of the event.

Titled ‘Indus Ke Sitaray’, the programme was initiated this year in June with an objective to impart education to children undergoing treatment for childhood cancer or any other chronic disease requiring a prolonged treatment.

It is being implemented in colla­­boration with Sha­hwilayat Public School (SWiPS), which has shared its curricula as per the Aga Khan University-Exa­min­ation Board (AKU-EB).

The school currently with two teachers and a small classroom is planned to be extended to offer education for all grade levels to hospitalised and under-treatment children.

Published in Dawn, September 9th, 2018