Dr. Mahwish Sharif went up to her ears as she entered the tuberculosis ward at the Fatima Jinnah Chest Hospital in Pakistan’s Balochistan province last week to make sure her hearing aid was in place.
This is a routine check for Sharif, the first hearing-impaired doctor in Balochistan, who overcame years of prejudice to complete medical school and be appointed as a doctor at the Fatima Jinnah Chest Hospital, the province’s only health facility for the treatment of respiratory and viral diseases in Quetta.
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The 29-year-old doctor is from a small village in the Kachi region of central Balochistan, and she always wanted to be a doctor, even after she lost her hearing at the age of four due to sensorineural hearing loss, or SNHL, which occurs when the inner ear is damaged.
“When I was a little girl, I used to pretend to be a doctor while playing with my brothers,” Sharif said, laughing, in her office. “Doctors’ white coats and stethoscopes have always inspired me.”