Bottom Line:  UM Healthcare is an incredibly cost-effective clinic treating people in rural Pakistan.  An additional $20K/year would let them double their medical staff to serve more patients (from ~40,000/year to ~80,000).  I’m in, let me know if you want to help.


Through my connection with the Reuters Digital Vision Program, I got to know some pretty remarkable people.  I had dinner tonight with Atif Mumtaz, one of the fellows from the 2005-2006 year.

Atif has created UM Healthcare, which provides health care to a region of 180,000 people–it’s the sole facility there.  I was moved by the difference that he has made, and how cheaply he has done it:

  • Served 150,000 patients since launching in mid-2008 (about 40,000/year)
  • Annual budget of about $80,000 (that’s not the executive director’s six-month salary, that’s the FULL ANNUAL BUDGET)
  • Provide free medicine to patients, which they need to purchase (aside from a few in-kind donations, no mass pharmaceutical corporate gifts).  They do get a discount of about 35% off retail.
  • Charge patients a fee for service (about 50 cents) to ensure that they take it seriously and don’t abuse it
  • Have 2 doctors on staff, annual salaries about $6K each, paramedics make between $1,200 – $1,800.
  • Top management is all volunteer
  • Are a paperless operation!  They have electronic medical records, accessed by mobile phones, with Google Maps data showing where patients are coming from.
  • They bring in specialists for “remote consultations” (via technology) in the 5% or so of the challenging cases that their local staff can’t handle.
Doctor treating patient at UM Healthcare

Doctor treating patient at UM Healthcare

Atif listed matter-of-factly the key patient groups they’d seen:

2009:  War victims
2010:  Flood victims
2011:  Flood victims  (I’d remembered the horrendous floods of 2010, but had to ask about 2011.  “Yep, and the infrastructure to handle the water hadn’t been rebuilt in time…”)

He expected to start seeing war refugees and victims returning in May.  No one fights during the winter, but when things start to thaw, hostilities will heat up as well…

They mostly keep their heads down, working, but they have gotten some international publicity:

Atif said that an additional $20,000/year would let them double their medical staff (adding 2 additional doctors and corresponding staff), which would also mean doubling their capacity to serve patients (the facilities are adequate to handle the additional demand.  They would need to cover additional medication cost, but the patient fees would help to defray that.)  Another significant boost for them would be the construction of a maternity facility, at a one-time capital cost of $100,000.

I’m considering adding UM Health in a significant way to my giving, and wonder if there’s anyone out there who would like to join me in helping to expand the number of people that they can treat.  Atif will be in the San Francisco Bay Area through January 22nd, 2012.  If you would like to talk with him, I can arrange an introduction.

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