Mayor of Walsall Councillor Mohammad Nazir (right) presents Professor Abdul Rashid Gatrad Freedom of the Borough of Walsall.
A Walsall paediatric consultant and charity fundraiser was awarded Freedom of the Borough of Walsall in recognition of his achievements in Walsall over the last 30 years. He holds the highest award of National Clinical excellence, at the Manor hospital in Walsall. “It is always in ‘trying times’ for others that we have an opportunity to serve and bring hope,” Professor Abdul Rashid Gatrad, said receiving the accolade.
The Mayor of Walsall Cllr M Nazir said: “I’m delighted the council is conferring this high honour on Professor Gatrad, who has helped so many children not just in Walsall but worldwide with his advances in medicine and all the fundraising for charities he has done.”
Prof Gatrad OBE, who was instrumental in establishing various breakthroughs in medicine for children, was presented with the honour at a special council meeting on January 30. He is the 20th person in the history of Walsall to be honoured with this prestigious award and the first from the BME background.
Within 5 years of his coming to Walsall he helped halve the death rate of newborn babies and established a state of the art neonatal unit. His research has varied from checking levels of lead in Walsall children and helping towards the production of an international protocol for a hepatitis vaccine, to safety of children in religious institutions.
Whilst fully employed he completed a PhD in ‘growth of children from different ethnic backgrounds’ in Walsall, which is a benchmark used internationally.
He has written over 80 papers, many on trans-cultural medicine (eg medical care during Hajj, provision of Chaplaincy services in hospitals and birth practices amongst Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs.)
Perhaps his biggest literary achievement was the publication of his two co-authored text books. Caring for Muslim Patients and Palliative care for Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs – which has also been translated into Spanish.
He also introduced provision of a blood donating service at weekends for the Asian population of Walsall.
To keep children out of trouble he was the project leader who led the team that built the £1.3m mosque and community centre in Walsall – this took 10 years and was opened in 1994.
Professor Gatrad currently works at Walsall Manor Hospital and has being instrumental in raising thousands of pounds for international charities. He is currently Chief Executive of Midland International Aid Trust and holds the Paul Harris Fellowship from Rotary International for his effort in eradicating Polio worldwide and setting up an orphanage in India.
He has masterminded the ‘International mother and baby campaign’ which includes the building of a new maternity hospital in Gujarat, Pakistan – a building which incorporates a state of the art ‘Cleft lip and palate’ operating centre and a paediatric unit. He has set up a breast care service and has facilitated surgeons to travel from the UK to operate, train and teach. A new limb centre named after his father, Mahomed Gatrad, has made hundreds mobile. Working with Vision International in Pakistan and other organisations in S Africa many have had their vision restored following cataract operations.