First bone marrow transplant center in the province to start next year

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Advisor to the Chief Minister on Health Khawaja Salman Rafique said on Thursday that the first bone marrow transplant center in the province would start working from July 2016 in Children Hospital Lahore and that the Punjab chief minister would inaugurate it.

Presiding over a meeting to review progress of setting up of the bone marrow transplant center at Children Hospital, Rafique said that Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif had provided funds of Rs 23 crore for establishment of the center.

Secretary Health Jawwad Rafique Malik, Institute of Child Health and Children Hospital Dean Prof. Dr Masood Sadiq, Medical Director Prof. Dr Ahsan Waheed Rathor, Prof. Huma Arshad Cheema, Additional Secretary Health (Technical) Dr Salman Shahid, Health Services Director Dr Haroon Jehangir Khan, National Institute of Blood Diseases Karachi Director Prof. Dr Tahir Shamsi and other officers attended the meeting.

Prof. Tahir Shamsi said that there was a severe shortage bone marrow transplant facilities in the country and that 125 bone marrow transplant operations were being conducted annually through the country. He said that this is a costly and a complicated treatment and the patient takes a long time to recover after operation. He said that due to the initiative of the chief minister, a new ray of hope had been provided to the children suffering from thalassemia, blood cancer and other blood diseases.

Dean Children Hospital Prof. Masood Sadiq said that the bone marrow transplant center would be part of the cancer ward of the Children Hospital. He said that National Institute of Blood Disease was providing technical guideline to the Children Hospital and highly skilled and specialized doctors, nurses and other staff would work in this center which would be given special remuneration.

Prof. Dr Ahsan Waheed Rathor told the meeting that building for the BMT center already existed in Children Hospital; some medical equipment had arrived while the remaining would soon be purchased. He said that the staff of BMT center of the Children Hospital would be imparted training at NIBD.

Rafique said that a state-of-the-art laboratory was also being set up at the Bone Marrow Transplant centre. He said that the bone marrow transplant treatment was very expensive abroad and it was impossible for a middle class person to bear these expenses. He said that the life of the patients suffering from cancer and other blood diseases would be saved with the facility of bone marrow transplant at the Children Hospital.

He expressed hope that the chief minister would inaugurate the facility on 27th of Ramazan-ul-Mubarrak in 2016.

Secretary Health Jawwad Rafique Malik assured the meeting that he would play his role in getting approval of SNE for the recruitment of specialized doctors and other staff for BMT and that the Health Department would extend full cooperation for making this center functional on time.

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