LAHORE: Lahore’s Children Hospital is set to perform its first ever bone marrow transplant in July this year after the Punjab government gave approval for the procedure to be carried out in public sector hospitals.
“In July, this year’s first bone marrow transplant operation will be carried out at the Children Hospital in Lahore under the supervision of Professor Dr Tahir Shamsi, Consultant Haematologist & Transplant Physician and Medical Director of National Institute of Blood Diseases & Bone Marrow Transplantation, Karachi (NIBD),” a notification issued by the Punjab Health Department said.
Professor Shamsi will coordinate with the institute’s management to finalise the arrangements for the first ever bone marrow transplant in the province as Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has sought his assistance in establishing a bone marrow centre.
In this regard, a memorandum of understanding (MOU) has been signed between the Punjab government and the NIBD according to which the NIBD will provide assistance to the provincial government for building a bone marrow transplant centre at the Children Hospital in Lahore.
“I have been appointed as a convener and consultant for Bone Marrow Centre at the Children Hospital,” Dr Shamsi told The Express Tribune. “Rs231 million for surgical and medical equipment and Rs27 million for completion of infrastructure have been released by the Punjab government.”
A 21-member team, including doctors, nurses and paramedical staff, will handle the transplant centre, the idea of which was conceived by the Punjab government as earlier as 2005.
“A nine-member team is being trained here at the NIBD under my supervision,” Dr Shamsi said and added that he will provide his services to the Punjab government free of cost.
Meanwhile, Medical Director of Children Hospital Prof Ahsan Waheed Rathore told The Express Tribune that it was for the first time in the Punjab that the government was taking measures to provide the facility of such transplantation to the affected children of bone marrow, cancer and blood diseases.
“For this the government has built a new block comprising of 60 beds,” Rathore said, adding the bone marrow treatment at a private facility in the country roughly costs around Rs15 million to Rs20 million.
Lauding the initiative, Rathore said the Punjab government always took such initiatives in the interest of the poor people. “Before this, the facility was only available at the Armed Forces Bone Marrow Transplant Centre in Rawalpindi and the NIBD in Karachi,” he said.
In November last year, the Punjab chief minister had announced the establishment of the province’s first ever bone marrow transplantat centre and provided Rs230 million on the advice of a provincial health adviser.