Pakistan Observer

Oscar nominated film features pioneering Pakistani surgeon

Monday, January 30, 2012 - SAVING FACE follows the personal stories of two acid attack victims as eminent Pakistani reconstruction surgeon Mr. Mohammad Jawad—who earned prominence for restoring the face of British model Katie Piper after an acid attack, helps them.

Acid attacks on women in Pakistan are a not uncommon, if un-spoken about phenomenon. SAVING FACE is the story of two survivors of such attacks— their battle for justice and their journey of healing through the pioneering surgical work of Mr Mohammad Jawad.

Mr Jawad has been working in this field for several years now and the profile below of his humanitarian work shows how committed he is to helping victims of this sort of violence.

In 2009 a Channel 4 documentary ‘My Beautiful Face’ aired, and catapulted Mr Mohammad Jawad into the public eye. The story of Katie Piper, the beautiful model marred by an acid attack, and her ‘hero’, as she calls the man who restored her face and her confidence, has since been shown the world over with record viewing figures. Mr Jawad was hailed as a ‘medical genius’ for the reconstructive work he performed on Ms Piper. The heartrending story however, is only one of many that MrJawad has encountered in his groundbreaking work with burns victims the world over.

A new documentary, Saving Face, nominated for the Best Documentary, Short Subject by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, chronicles his work as he travels to his birthplace, Pakistan, to treat survivors of radically disfiguring acid attacks, the majority of whom are women targeted by family members. It is scheduled to be shown on HBO in the USA and on Channel 4 in the UK, and will be screened as part of the Human Rights Watch Film Festival UK, in March 2012.

“No-one who sees these women could fail to be moved. Each beautiful in their own way, their lives have been destroyed, their faces and bodies disfigured, often by members of their own families. The face is our primary portal of communication, and these women have lost that means of communication and been ostracised from society following the terrible attacks that have been inflicted upon them. After what I saw, I could not help but put my hand out to these women and do what I could.” Mr Jawad

Mr Jawad’s tireless work for burns and acid victims in Pakistan (the country of his birth,) and all through the Middle East and Indian Subcontinent has seen him recognised at Buckingham Palace. The Princess Royal, a patron of ASTI (the Acid Survivor’s Trust International,) extended an invitation for him to attend her 60th birthday celebration in recognition of Mr Jawad’s work for a common cause.

He is also a trustee of the Katie Piper Foundation and was awarded the Star of Pakistan for his work via Islamic Help (Birmingham,) which included a pilot project led by Mr Jawad in which a team of plastic surgeons were sent to Pakistan from the UK in 2009 to operate on children with cleft lips and palates and people suffering from burns, the large proportion of these burns victims being women who have been attacked with acid.

In 2005, as the news of the devastating Pakistan earthquake which claimed nearly 75,000 lives, emerged Mr Jawad led a surgical team to offer combined expertise from the UK to look after victims of the disaster. Establishing a clinical facility outside the danger zone, the team carried out reconstructive procedures for limb salvaging on approximately 25 patients per day for 7 weeks, as well as treating over 250 more patients with other injuries. The simultaneous training of the Al-Shifa medical staff members was an added long-term bonus to the country.

Now one of the most recognisable names in the world of plastic and reconstructive surgery, Mr Jawad’s career spans more than two decades and multiple countries. Having completed a Cosmetic Surgery Fellowship in London, he continued his training in the USA, Italy, France, Belgium and Turkey before launching his career in the UK. He has held many eminent posts throughout the country, including extensive work with children, his most recent position before dedicating himself to his private practice, Nip n Tuck Surgery, being at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in London, where he served as Consultant Plastic, Reconstructive and Burns Surgeon, and he continues his position as Honorary Clinical Senior Lecturer at the University of London as part of his on-going commitment to teaching and training.

His published work as well as many international presentations, symposiums, speaking engagements and workshops have helped to spread his radical cutting-edge techniques to the wider medical community, and include such prestigious platforms as Imperial College, London; the 15th Congress of the International Society for burn Injury, Istanbul; European Burns Meeting, Lausanne, Switzerland; and many more.

Mr Jawad’s future plans focus on the establishment of a charitable foundation that will enable him to build upon and expand his work with burns victims in Third World countries, who would otherwise have little or no recourse to reconstruction surgery, and would also enable him to pass on his invaluable expertise to local surgeons.—CisionWire
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