Medical student wins humanitarian medal for first free emergency services in Afghanistan
Medical student Salman Momin has been awarded the Dr Abbas Khan Medal for his delivery of Afghanistan’s first free emergency ambulance service.
For over 30 years, Afghanistan has been devastated by war and conflict resulting in countless loss of life and injury to civilians. Infrastructure and emergency services have been particularly affected by this long-term warfare. It has been reported there are less than a dozen ambulances in service in Kabul, a city with a population over 4 million.
After leaving Afghanistan as a child, Salman returned in 2011 and was saddened to see widespread poverty and basic human needs being neglected. “Perhaps, what made me most upset was the basic medical access. In the UK, the National HeaIth Service provided care to all at no cost, whilst in Afghanistan, not even a basic ambulance system existed even within the capital city “
Upon returning to the UK, Salman co-founded the charitable organisation, Human Relief Mission (HRM) who set up a project to provide free, reliable and easily-accessible emergency ambulances to the people of Afghanistan.
This first-of-its-kind service, began in 2012 to serve people affected by natural and human-caused disasters initially with 2 ambulances. Now, the fleet of vehicles has grown to 10 and serves two provinces of Afghanistan covering a population of over 1.88 million.
Between 2012 and 2017 over 11,500 trips were made by the service covering approximately 139,960 kilometres. Since 2012, 554 emergencies were attended with 130 of those being in 2017 alone.
“I knew something had to be done and that I would not be able to change things overnight neither would I bring peace and stability to every home, but I also knew that a change and comfort for just one person would be as if I had changed the world”
Most of the funds were raised by Salman through various events at King’s College London and other universities totalling to more than £110,000 in 2017.
For his outstanding humanitarian contribution and tireless leadership, Salman Momin was awarded the Dr Abbas Khan Medal on Thursday evening. The medal was established in 2015 to provide a lasting tribute to the extraordinary humanitarian contribution of alumnus Dr Abbas Khan. Dr Khan tragically passed away in 2013 after he was detained for undertaking humanitarian work in Syria.
The medal is awarded annually, to a King’s medical student, who has made an outstanding contribution in the service of society, either in the UK or overseas. The medal is typically awarded to someone who has shown courage in their humanitarian work, contributed over a number of years while a student and ensured that the work will be sustained.
This year’s ceremony included a keynote lecture by Dr Swee Chai Ang an orthopaedic and trauma consultant surgeon and Co-Founder and Patron of the British Charity Medical Aid for Palestinians.
If you would like to support Salman’s work and the Human Relief Mission, you can donate here or on the just giving page.