First public sector bone marrow transplantation center established

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The country’s first public sector bone marrow transplant centre has been established at the Lahore Children’s Hospital at a cost of Rs 260 million.

Installation of medical equipment is under way and the centre is expected to start functioning within two months. Doctors have already selected the first five patients for bone marrow transplantation operations.

This was disclosed by the Punjab Minister for Specialized Healthcare and Medical Education Khawaja Salman Rafique while chairing a meeting to review the arrangements for operationalising the transplantation centre here on Saturday.

Addressing the meeting, Prof Ahsan Rathore said that the centre consists of 60 beds where medical treatment and surgical facilities would be provided to the patients suffering from cancer, heamatology, and bone marrow disorders.

Children’s Hospital Dean Masood Sadiq informed the meeting’s participants that the training of doctors, nurses, and other staff has been completed. Doctors and staff were sent abroad as well as to the Institute of Blood Diseases, Karachi, to be trained.

He said that the Punjab Human Organs Transplantation Authority (PHOTA) has been asked to issue institutional permission to begin bone marrow transplantations. Moreover, Children’s Hospital is pursuing the Drugs Regulatory Authority Pakistan (DRAP) for permission to import such medicines which are essential for the treatment of bone marrow patients but are not registered in Pakistan.

Health Minister Kh Salman Rafique immediately contacted DRAP Chief Executive Dr Aslam Afghani on telephone and emphasized the issuance of permission for the purpose. Dr Aslam Afghani assured the minister that as soon as the hospital sends the written request, the DRAP would immediately issue permission for importing medicines essential for bone marrow patients.

Kh Salman Rafique said that initially 30 bone marrow transplantation operations would be carried out annually. He said that the centre would provide its facilities to the poor free of cost.

Bone Marrow Transplantation Center Project Director Dr Tahir Shamsi, Dr Nasir Bukhari, Prof Huma Arshad Cheema, Dr Mehvish Faizan and other concerned officers also attended the meeting.