New York Times Examines One American’s Efforts To Help Pakistanis With Health Care

The New York Times profiles the Comprehensive Disaster Relief Services (CDRS) hospital in Chikar, Pakistan, which was started by American Todd Shea after the 2005 earthquake in that country. The aspiring musician’s life was turned over to rescue efforts after September 11, when he used his van to “ferry meals to firefighters at Ground Zero,” according to the New York Times.

Shea now lives in Pakistan “and learned years ago that, as far as health care is concerned, every day is a crisis for Pakistanis.” The New York Times writes, that in “Pakistan, less than one percent of the national budget is devoted to the health of its citizens, and the nation’s health care crisis is especially acute in remote communities.”

According to the New York Times, Shea’s “hospital, with 38 employees and nearly $200,000 in financing from Americans and UNICEF, highlights not only the needs of Pakistan’s rural health system but also a glaring vulnerability for a government trying to brand itself an alternative to the Taliban.”  While CDRS “is more makeshift than miracle,” the hospital “treats about 100,000 patients annually, and 70 percent are women and children” (Ellick, New York Times, 6/24).