First bone marrow transplant performed

Karachi, 26 September 2017: A team of surgeons carried out for free the first bone marrow transplant at the National Institute of Blood Diseases (NIBD) on Thursday.
The Sindh government footed the medical bill for the procedure performed on a 19-year-old resident of Karachi. The provincial government has provided Rs300 million to the private hospital to perform the costly procedure on needy and deserving patients in the province.
“Farhaj Abbas, resident of Abbas Town, had been suffering from Apalstic Anemia and needed immediate BMT. He was operated upon by me and team at the expense of the Sindh government after his sister donated her bone marrow,” eminent surgeon and NIBD Director Dr Tahir Sultan Shamsi told The News.
“We would hopefully conduct 100 such procedures in a year at the Sindh government’s expense.”
After wasting millions of rupees on the establishment of a bone marrow transplant (BMT) centre in the province, the government gave Rs300 to the NIBD last week when Health Minister Dr Sikandar Mandhro handed over a cheque to officials of the private hospital, saying that more funds would be provided to the institute if required to treat patients.
The federal and Punjab governments are already providing millions of rupees to the NIBD for bone marrow transplants on their deserving and needy patients in Karachi, while the Punjab government has successfully established its own BMT centre at the Children’s Hospital Lahore with the help of Karachi’s institute.
Bone marrow transplant is a sophisticated treatment for patients suffering from blood diseases like thalassaemia, various types of leukemia and other blood disorders in which their faulty or diseased bone marrow is replaced with healthy marrow from a donor. The treatment roughly costs Rs5 million in the private sector.
As many as 10,000 need Bone Marrow Transplants in entire Pakistan annually but hardly 200 of them managed to avail this treatment facility due to its higher cost as only a few private hospitals in Pakistan are capable of performing this procedure but none of the public sector hospital is offering this service free of charge.
“The federal government and the government of Punjab were already giving us huge grants for conducting BMTs free of cost to patients recommended by them, and now the Sindh government has also given us the annual grant million, which we have started using for BMT treatment of patients,” said Dr Shamsi.

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