Pakistan Khalid Zia has done so much for myasthenics in his home country of Pakistan, as well as around the world, that it’s hard to know where to start. From hurrying to the remote areas affected by Pakistan’s recent earthquake to providing Mestinon to a desperate patient in Africa, Khalid is always finding ways to aid those with MG.
Diagnosed with generalized MG when he was 24, Khalid then gave up his career as an engineer and devoted his life to helping other myasthenics in Pakistan and eventually the world.
Khalid, now 41, soon established the Pakistan Myasthenic Welfare Organization Pakistan Myasthenic Welfare Organization (www.myastheniagravispk.com). “I really enjoy to do work for the betterment of ailing humanity suffering in MG,” he says.
Due to his outstanding work in the field of diagnosis and treatment of myasthenia gravis, Khalid received the Commonwealth Youth Asia Award for Excellence in Youth Work and Development in 1998. The Commonwealth is an association of 53 countries. Its 1.8 billion citizens, about 30 percent of the world’s population, are drawn from the broadest range of faiths, races, cultures and traditions. (For more information, visitwww.thecommonwealth.org).
“I had generalized MG condition with difficulty in chewing and swallowing,” Khalid says. “Easy fatigability in walking and could not take steps upstairs. He used Mestinon and prednisolone in small doses, then had a thymectomy in May 1989.
“After the thymectomy my MG condition much improved and I spent a few years without medicines and in complete remission,” Khalid says. MG symptoms returned in 1994 and were controlled with steroids and Mestinon. He experienced another exacerbation last September, but quickly went into remission. That didn’t last long, because heresponded immediately when a devastating earthquake hit Pakistan in October.
“I need to do a lot of work to manage the earthquake victims with crush injuries with mobile plasmapheresis to save them from the amputations,” Khalid says. “This difficult task completed with zeal and courage, but my MG condition again worst.”
Now his MG symptoms of drooping eyelids, double vision, limb weakness, difficulty walking and easy fatigability are well controlled with 20 mg prednisolone (a steroid in the same class as prednisone) on alternate days and 60 mg pyridostigmine (generic Mestinon) four times a day.
“I am using all my energies to develop this charity work for the myasthenics,” Khalid says of the PMWO. His organization, of which he is secretary general, has done a tremendous job of creating awareness about MG in Pakistan through publications, TV interviews and visits to medical colleges.
In big cities where neurologists are based there is no difficulty in getting a quick diagnosis, Khalid says, but in remote areas speedy identification of the problem is not assured.
Khalid and his wife, Kalsoom, have two daughters, Javeria Khalid, 10, and Noor Fatima, 2.
Khalid suggests that positive thinking and doing some positive work for the care and welfare of others can help myasthenics improve. “We should join hands toward the cause anywhere in the world,” he says.