On a rocky elevated surface, in scorching heat and moist air, sat Abu Bakar with his younger siblings, anxiously waiting to witness the new talk of the town. Men in uniforms were setting registration tents on the shore, while women and children gathered behind covered canopy in groups not less than five. Everyone eagerly waited for the loud horn that would signal the arrival of the magnificent Boat. Not just any boat, but Pakistan’s First-Ever Boat Clinic by Indus Hospital & Health Network.

Abu Bakar, 20, had been complaining about liver pain and acidity for the past four years. A resident of a small Island in Bhong, in the district of Rajanpur, South Punjab, surrounded by River Indus on all sides, he would travel three hours to reach a small hospital in Sadaqabad to get himself tested. Unfortunately, the hospital could not do much for him and his pain persisted.

“They [Sadaqabad’s hospital] did nothing good, they did a lot of tests but diagnosed nothing. I wasted three hours of my life and almost half my earning for nothing,” he says.

“When I saw this huge ship, I thought the government was trying to spy on us, but then a cousin of mine visited this boat and came back with not only a diagnosis but a packet of free medicines as well. This is when I decided to visit. I am glad I did. Now, all 20 family members of my family visit the boat clinic for every small health-related issue,” says Abu Bakar as he steps down the boarding stairs of the boat.