Beauty goes beyond being merely skin-deep. It is deeply connected to the psyche, leading to higher self-esteem and a better quality of life.

The experts at the R5 Aesthetics and Healthcare Clinic, led by Dr Muhammad Ali Jawad of Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy’s Saving Face fame, are well aware of this. It is their intrinsic understanding of aesthetics and restorative techniques that forms the foundation of their clinic and is now, going to be the backbone of a charity that they have just launched formally.

The R5 Aesthetics and Healthcare Clinic is located in Block 4, Clifton
The R5 Aesthetics and Healthcare Clinic is located in Block 4, Clifton

The launch, in Karachi’s Café Aylanto, was attended by the city’s most illustrious. But for once, the glitterati and the hype were for a good cause. The R5 Foundation, as it begins its journey, will be helping out acid-burn victims and the elderly, crippled by ageing joints. State-of-the-art stem cell regeneration technology will be utilised to ensure results that, according to the foundation, can be truly phenomenal.

Dr Muhammad Ali Jawad speaking at the launch of R5 Foundation
Dr Muhammad Ali Jawad speaking at the launch of R5 Foundation

“The Clinic has already been operational for two odd years now and we have had the time to standardise practices and train staff,” explains R5’s CEO Dr Shakaib Qureshi. “We are primarily a one-stop shop that addresses the various needs of patients. Somebody coming in with skin problems, for instance, may actually have a hormonal imbalance that has triggered the issue. The condition will accordingly be dealt by a relevant expert.”

“The Clinic has already been operational for two years now. Somewhere along the line, we realised that we were becoming a rich man’s club and we couldn’t allow this to happen. We have the best machines, pioneering techniques and acclaimed experts in our team. We hope to extend ourselves beyond business to help out the less fortunate." — Dr Shakaib Qureshi, R5 CEO

“We have Dr Jawad with us who has pioneered stem-cell regeneration and he infamously applied it with great success when he reconstructed model Katie Piper’s face after it had been melted away in an acid attack. Stem cells that can regenerate the skin can similarly be used to regenerate knee cartilage and we have successfully been using the technique to make life better for many of our aged patients.”

“Somewhere along the line, though, we realised that we were becoming a rich man’s club and we couldn’t allow this to happen,” continues Dr Shakaib. “We have the best machines, pioneering techniques and acclaimed experts in our team. We hope to extend ourselves beyond business to help out the less fortunate. The Foundation will pinpoint deserving candidates and we will then try to improve the quality of their lives by eliminating pains in their joints and restoring muscular power to their limbs. We will also work with victims of acid burns.”

Reconstructing and regenerating the scarred skin of acid-burn victims has long been an area of expertise for Dr Jawad. His work was lauded around the world via Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy’s Saving Face, he was praised for having restored Katie Piper’s face and for many years now, he has been working with acid-burn victims both within in Pakistan as well as abroad.

Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy with Dr Jawad at the launch of R5 Foundation
Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy with Dr Jawad at the launch of R5 Foundation

“I would visit Pakistan every three months to be with my mother and would simultaneously operate victims of acid burns,” recalls Dr Jawad. “Then, when I was back in London, I would keep an eye on my patients via my team in Karachi. Two years ago, I finally made the decision to move back to Karachi and devote myself more consistently to helping out people in my own country. The Clinic is a business venture and we have procedures for cosmetic enhancement. The charity is completely devoted to helping out people in need, free of cost.”

"Not only is it important to rectify the physical appearance but it is also necessary to treat the victim psychologically. This is something that many doctors erroneously often overlook.” — Dr Jawad

Much of Dr Jawad’s work over the past few years has been carried out with beautician Masarrat Misbah of Depilex who provides a sanctuary to victims of acid attacks via the SmileAgain Foundation. “Acid attacks are premeditated and they are thrown purposefully on the face in order to deface the victim and take away her dignity. By reconstructing the skin and at times, making it better, I refuse to give the abuser the satisfaction of having ruined the victim’s life."

"We have already been quietly treating acid burn victims at the Clinic and now, with this formal announcement, we plan to treat even more people. Not only is it important to rectify the physical appearance but it is also necessary to treat the victim psychologically. This is something that many doctors erroneously often overlook.”

Frieha Altaf and Ayesha Omar were some of illustrious attendees of the R5 Foundation launch
Frieha Altaf and Ayesha Omar were some of illustrious attendees of the R5 Foundation launch

Documentary filmmaker and Oscar-award winner Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, in her speech at the launch, spoke about how Dr Jawad was giving hope to his patients. For the affluent, the techniques and expertise available at the fledgling R5 Clinic may be invaluable and the hope that it brings may be well worth the price charged to them.

It is heartening, though, that the foundation will make the same facilities available to people who do not have the finances to afford the treatment. After all, life can’t be pinned down by a price-tag and as Sharmeen eloquently said at the launch, “There is no price for hope.”

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