KARACHI: Despite border tensions between Pakistan and India and deadly skirmishes on the Line of Control in Kashmir and working boundary in Punjab, eminent Indian liver transplant surgeon Prof Dr Subhash Gupta is arriving in Karachi with his team to perform three to four liver transplants at the Ojha campus of Dow University of Health Sciences (DUHS) this month.
“Dr Gupta is coming to Karachi this month to carry out three to four liver transplant surgeries at the Ojha campus of DUHS,” announced DUHS Vice-Chancellor Prof Saeed Quraishy at a medical conference on gastroenterology and liver diseases, organised by Pak GI and Liver Diseases Society (PGLDS) on Saturday.
Dozens of leading gastroenterologists and hepatologists from public and private sector hospitals, including PGLDS patron Prof Dr Shahid Ahmed, Prof Dr Waseem Jaffri, Dr Lubna Kamani from Liaquat National Hospital, DUHS Registrar Prof Amanullah Abbassi, Dr Sajjad Jamil, Dr Nazish Butt and others spoke about various waterborne diseases, liver ailments, different types of viral hepatitis and other issues related to gastroenterology and hepatology at the event.
Dr Gupta had performed a last liver transplant at DUHS in December last year and he is arriving in Karachi again to perform more liver transplants and train a team of Pakistani surgeons so that they can carry out the complicated surgery locally without the supervision of a foreign expert.
“Lack of trained human resources is a basic hurdle preventing us from performing liver transplants locally and a large number of our patients are going to Shifa International Hospital in Islamabad and abroad for liver transplants,” Prof Quraishy said, adding that hopefully, Pakistani surgeons would be able to perform liver transplants after learning from the Indian and other countries’ surgeons.
The DUHS vice-chancellor maintained that provision of safe and clean drinking water was the most important intervention in preventing and controlling the outbreak of extensively-drug resistant typhoid in Sindh, which has now spread from Karachi to Sukkur after initially being reported in Hyderabad. He advised people to boil water for at least 20 minutes before drinking to avoid contracting infectious waterborne diseases.
Lauding the organisers of the conference, he said the varsity was providing hands-on training to young gastroenterologists and hepatologists and offered his varsity’s resources to PGLDS in holding joint training sessions, conferences and workshops to train young doctors.
The patron of PGLDS, Dr Ahmed, said water mixed with sewage had emerged as the major cause of stomach illnesses, including typhoid, gastroenteritis, diarrhoea and various types of hepatitis in Karachi and the rest of Sindh where millions were forced to drink filthy water without knowing its risks and hazards.
“In these circumstances, we have established the PGLDS to create awareness among the masses and train young doctors so that those suffering from the ailments could be treated properly,” he said.
Demanding the government impose an immediate ban on over the counter sale of antibiotics in Pakistan, Dr Ahmed urged doctors to prescribe third generation antibiotics very cautiously to avoid emergence of more drug resistant strains of deadly bacteria.
Dr Kamani deplored that hepatitis C was spreading at an alarming rate in Pakistan and despite being a preventable disease, it was causing thousands of deaths in the urban and rural areas of the country.
“If hepatitis C is not controlled in Pakistan in the coming years, other countries may impose travel restrictions on Pakistan and only those people who don’t have hepatitis B and C virus in their blood, would be allowed to travel to the developed countries,” she warned.
Dr Jaffri, in his keynote address, spoke on the various types of hepatitis and discussed their mode of transmission and available treatment options in Pakistan.
The other speakers addressed technical sessions and workshops during the day-long conference.