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Pakistani physicians acknowledge their heroes who forge ahead against pandemic

"We owe them everything," says St. Louis County Health Director Faisal Khan at area APPNA gathering

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — The Association of Physicians of Pakistani Descent of North America recognized healthcare workers for being on the front lines during the ongoing pandemic.

"I think there's strength in numbers," said Dr. Tariq Alam, St. Louis Chapter President of APPNA. "One physician alone can't win this fight. We all have to pour in our ideas. Get the best from everyone and get the best solution for our region."

For the 250-plus members, collaborating across healthcare networks in our region was easy, Dr. Alam said. He also says it brought doctors closer to the community.

"We have many who have language barriers, or economic barriers," Dr. Alam said. "Basically being able to reach out to them, I think that is one of our highlights."

Member and St. Louis County Health Director Dr. Faisal Khan said there's not enough praise to go around.



"The only reason we aren't looking at a 3 million or 4 million death count is because of the selfless work and sacrifice of healthcare providers across the country," Dr. Khan said. "We owe them everything."

Khan said the work isn't done yet.

"I am very happy that nearly 35% in the St. Louis region is vaccinated," Dr. Khan said. "I am equally worried that 65% of us are not. We are not out of this yet."

Khan is happy that county leaders support strong health guidelines until we cross the finish line. He said it's going to take more community action before things return to normal.

"It depends entirely on how the virus behaves, on the number of people getting vaccinated and the spread of disease in smaller communities in high-risk groups," Khan said.

Until then, doctors say mask up and get the vaccine or encourage others to do so.