Former scholar keeps vaccine pipeline running in Pakistan, Afghanistan
Former Rotary Foundation Scholar Farrukh Jamal Syed (right) hands a vaccine carrier to Abdul Haiy Khan, chair of the Pakistan PolioPlus Committee. Photo courtesy of Syed.
Once an Ambassadorial Scholar, Farrukh Jamal Syed today plays a key role in the battle to end polio. His Pakistan-based company manufactures vitally needed vaccine carriers that are being provided through a PolioPlus Partners grant.
Substantial funding for the grant came from Dan Holzapfel, of the Rotary Club of Cleveland, Queensland, Australia.
The Pakistan PolioPlus Committee saved around US$40,000, thanks to the involvement of this former Rotary Foundation Scholar, says committee chair Abdul Haiy Khan of Syed’s contribution to the polio eradication effort. Khan adds that other carriers cost at least three times more than the ones produced by Simcon.
Khan had approached Syed with the committee’s need for an easily transportable carrier that would keep vaccines safe in temperatures as high as 115 degrees Farenheit (46 degrees centigrade). Syed was up to the task: His firm, Simcon International, specializes in industrial product design, development, and manufacturing.
Since 2006, Simcon has produced approximately 100,000 carriers. “It is a nice feeling of satisfaction and great achievement [to work] for humanity and The Rotary Foundation,” Syed says. “Work for the Rotary name has great importance in my life.”
Syed has maintained ties with Rotary ever since he studied computer-assisted design and manufacturing as a 1989-90 Ambassadorial Scholar in England. He later joined his sponsor Rotary Club of Islamabad (Metropolitan), but was unable to maintain membership in Rotary after moving his company to a remote area. He has since relocated his business to downtown Karachi and says he would like to rejoin the organization that helped launch his career.
“The experience I gained from the scholarship directly helped me in building the concept for Simcon,” he says, adding that it also helped shape his worldview. “Generally, people from any part of the world have the same feelings and the same needs. What matters is how quickly we can understand each other by establishing good communication and giving respect.”