As Dr. Mahwish Sharif entered the tuberculosis ward at the Fatima Jinnah Chest Hospital in Pakistan’s Balochistan province last week, she reached up to her ears to make sure her hearing aid was in place.
This is a routine check for Sharif, the first doctor in Balochistan with a hearing impairment, who overcame years of prejudice to finish medical school and be appointed as a doctor at the Fatima Jinnah Chest Hospital, the only health facility in the provincial capital, Quetta, for the treatment of respiratory and viral diseases.
The 29-year-old doctor hails from a remote village in the central Balochistan district of Kachi and dreamt of becoming a doctor as a child — even after she lost her hearing at age four due to sensorineural hearing loss, or SNHL, which occurs after inner ear damage.
“I used to act like a doctor while playing with my brothers when I was a little girl,” Sharif told Arab News at her office, smiling. “The white coat that doctors wear and the stethoscopes always inspired me.”