In 1948 Dr Atia Zafar migrated to Pakistan from Patna (India) with her husband, Mr Syed Abu Zafar (late) and two young children. She had a dream of becoming a doctor and running her own hospital. This seemed impossible because she was not only struggling financially, but she was also illiterate. However, through support from her husband, she was able to complete her matriculation and then started studying medicine.
In fact, there was a time in 1962-63 when Dr Atia and her eldest son, Dr Syed Tipu Sultan, were studying in the same medical college (Dow Medical College).
With an MBBS degree Dr Atia Zafar started her clinic in a small shop in Lyari which was later shifted to Malir in 1965 close to her 3-room house. This clinic later became a 40 bedded general hospital, called Atia General Hospital. All her eight children are specialists and experienced doctors and are serving different institutions. In 2008, she transformed Atia General Hospital into a trust called the Zafar & Atia Charitable Trust with the aim to promote health services in Pakistan. This trust is donating all its income to Koohi Goth Hospital and other charitable causes.
Dr Atia Zafar’s son and veteran gynecologist, Dr Shershah Syed, one of the leading doctors in Pakistan, is actively involved in treating women suffering from obstetric fistula. With support from his family, Dr Shershah established the 40-bedded Koohi Goth Hospital in 2006 on 16 acres of the land donated to his mother. This was upgraded to a 150 bedded hospital in 2014.