Medical Aid for Herat/Afghanistan
When travelling to his hometown Herat, Afghanistan, in 2003 Dr. Rezai had the opportunity to visit a local maternity clinic. Traditionally, birth would take place at home and the maternity clinic would only treat women with high-risk pregnancies. The hygienic conditions in the delivery room were catastrophic and the clinic lacked all types of equipment. Ten women were lying side-by-side in heavy labour. The doctors were desperate because they lacked the means to offer adequate help. They knew that half of the mothers would not survive. They would die giving birth or shortly after.
Dr. Rezai was shocked. Help was desperately needed.
"Talking to the hospital staff, I promised that I would build a new hospital. I had no idea how I would achieve it, but an inner voice told me that I could do it.“, Dr. Rezai says when asked today.
For the remainder of his visit to Afghanistan the idea of building a new hospital never left his mind. He wondered how he could manage to effectively help both the women and the medical staff. Shortly after his return to Dusseldorf he set up a Foundation, which he dedicated to his parents.
On 4 July 2003 the former President of Dusseldorf Jürgen Büssow handed Mrs. and Dr. Rezai the deed of foundation and officially recognized the „Rezai-Foundation – Medical Aid for Herat/Afghanistan“. The Foundation would serve the purpose of providing medical care to women and children as well as educating and training medical personnel in Afghanistan.
Dr. Rezai contacted the Afghan Government and was able to arrange the purchase of a 9000
square meter plot in the very heart of Herat, on which a maternity clinic had already once stood before it was fully destroyed during the war. Only a year after making the initial promise, the first stone was set in 2004.
As it was quite clear that the Rezai-Foundation would not to able to bear the costs of construction alone, Dr. Rezai began to tirelessly gather support for this ambitious project. Friends, family and former patients of Dr. Rezai contributed to the successful realization of the project, as did fellow doctors from all around the world. Donations came in form of money and medical equipment.
In April 2007 a delegation of the German Embassy in Kabul met with Dr. Rezai at the construction site in Herat. They were very impressed and emphasized the clinic's great importance for the development of the local health-care system.
Construction was finally completed in 2008 and in early 2009 the first patients made their way through the clinics’ doors.