Health experts on Monday voiced concerns over the allergy centre at the National Institute of Health (NIH) calling it “obsolete, unscientific and inappropriate” and positing that it puts many lives at risk.
Member of the Global Alliance against Chronic Respiratory Diseases (GARD) planning committee, a programme run by the World Health Organisation, Dr Muhammad Osman Yusuf told The Express Tribune that the NIH allergy centre is “functioning against all international recommendations and norms”.
He said the centre has been running without allergy specialists and has never ever had a qualified or trained allergy specialist at all. “Allergy vaccination is an extremely sensitive and specific form of treatment, and must only be performed by a trained and qualified specialist,” he said adding that there are currently less than half a dozen allergy specialists in the country for a population of 180 million.
Furthermore, Dr Yusuf explained that to conduct a proper allergy test or create an allergy vaccine, it is absolutely essential that specific allergen extracts be available for each and every allergen, categorised according to the environment, location, disease and timing of illness for each patient.
He claimed that both extract manufacturers and dispensers at NIH are unaware either of their contents or how to perform quality control on them.
Former head of Pims Pulmonology Department Dr Zaman Awan while quoting a Canadian asthma report, said that the NIH is not following its prescribed guidelines. According to the report, allergy vaccines should be administered only in Intensive Care Units, since there are chances that patients may suffer from shock. At the NIH, however, vaccines are administered in open rooms by unqualified health staff.
When contacted, NIH Executive Director Dr Birjees Mazhar Qazi denied all allegations and said no qualifications are required for allergy specialists, especially since its dermatologists and clinical immunologists can deal with the issue.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 4th, 2012.
Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.
For more information, please see our Comments FAQ