Dr Asim Shahmalak, the consultant hair transplant surgeon for Crown Clinic and one of the most respected hair transplant surgeons around the world, is renowned for his charitable work treating acid attack victims in his native Pakistan.
In 2014, Dr Shahmalak returned to Karachi, Pakistan on a self-funded trip after hearing about the increase of acid attacks in his home country, leaving women scarred and disfigured, and feeling passionately that he should give something back.
The previous year, Dr Shahmalak had flown over to Pakistan to meet some victims of acid attacks and see what he could do to help, meaning that by the time he returned, there were a lot of potential patients desperate for his help.
Helping Victims of Acid attacks
For many victims of acid attacks, surgery would be usually be unattainable, as the cost of a hair transplant would be something that only the rich could afford. Unfortunately, there were some patients that Dr Shahmalak had to turn away, as their scarring would mean that hair grafts simply would not take, but for those who he could help, their lives were transformed by the procedure.
Eyebrow and eyelash transplants are incredibly delicate procedures, but ones that Dr Shahmalak specialises in – in fact, he was the first surgeon in the UK to carry out eyelash transplant surgery, and one of the few surgeons in the world who can perform the procedure.
For the patients who Dr Shahmalak could treat, the surgery was far more than just cosmetic work – it was a truly life-changing procedure. Many acid attack victims have their lives ripped apart by the attacks, finding themselves shunned by society, including their own families, and suffer from low self-esteem, struggling to even go out in public. Some victims even end up living on the streets as a result of the attacks. Thanks to Dr Shahmalak’s incredible work, they can slowly start to rebuild their lives.
Dr Shahmalak was accompanied on the trip by a film crew from ITN to document it, which meant it achieved global coverage and awareness of both the impact of acid attacks and Dr Shahmalak’s tireless work. Later that year, he was named Man of the Year at the Fusion Awards in recognition of his humanitarian efforts.
Recognition for Ongoing work in Pakistan
Since then, Dr Shamalak has continued with his vital work, offering assistance to a total of 27 victims. In January 2020, he was personally thanked by Prime Minister Boris Johnson for his selfless work, who stated: “I know you do this with no thought of praise or reward, but allow me to offer my own recognition of how you are providing life-changing surgery to rebuild the faces of people in Pakistan who have experienced devastating acid attacks."
Over the years, patients of Dr Shahmalak’s include a mother-of-two who was doused in sulphuric acid during a family argument, a shopkeeper who lost her left eye after acid was thrown by a relative, and a woman who was attacked after turning down her boyfriend’s marriage proposal.
To find out more about Dr Shahmalak’s charitable work, take a look at our media centre.