Guest speaker: Dr Asmat Naebkhil of Kabul, Afghanistan and Windsor.

Dr Asmat Naebkhil of Kabul, Afghanistan and Windsor, Ontario spoke to our Club about the start-up and development of what is now the Kabul Medical University Cardiac Research Institute. Asmat is a cardiologist who studied medicine in Afghanistan and India and eventually came to Canada where he worked at Mount Sinai and St. Michael’s Hospitals in Toronto as well as in Saskatchewan and Windsor. Asmat joined the Rotary Club of Windsor where he met Jim and Dianne Moore and told them his dream of returning to Afghanistan to establish a centre to provide cardiac care which was not then available anywhere in the country. Asmat shared with us his story of his bootstraps’ efforts to bring cardiac care to Kabul. This included working with Windsor Rotarians to secure used but not obsolete equipment from hospitals in Windsor and Detroit and arrange for the equipment to be shipped to Afghanistan by the US Air Force. In Kabul, Asmat worked to obtain all the necessary permits and to arrange to use an empty former girls dormitory to set up the cardiac clinic. He began treating patients from all walks of life including the poorest of the poor. No one was charged for the medical services. At times of extreme danger in Kabul, the Canadian Embassy insisted that Asmat, a Canadian citizen, spend the nights in their secure compound rather than staying at the clinic. One day Asmat treated a senior official from the office of President Hamid Karzai. This changed the course of development of the cardiac care facility! Asmat described how he was invited to the palace for lunch with President Karzai. This led to regular lunches with the president and the provision of funding that enabled the facility to grow from one cardiologist and a few nurses operating on a shoestring budget to a well equipped institute with more than 200 staff including more than 20 cardiologists. While there are no Rotary Wheels or Maple Leaf flags on display due to security issues in Afghanistan, this is the greatest Canadian success story in the country!   Jim Moore introduced his long time friend, Asmat, and Abdollah Kafshbarghi thanked him on behalf of our Club.