More harm than good: NIH allergy centre being run unscientifically

Experts cite lack of properly trained allergy specialists a serious issue.

Sehrish Wasif April 03, 2012


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. 


Dr Osman Yusuf | 9 years ago | Reply

The comments by the Executive Director of the National Institute of Health, Islamabad, are simply deplorable. It is clear that the man knows NOTHING about allergy. I wonder how a a dermatologist (skin specialist) can manage asthma, as he says.

I also wonder what the World Allergy Organisation (, the American College and Academy for Allergy Asthma & Immunology (,, the European Academy of Allergology & Clinical Immunology (, thh British Society of Allergy & Clinical Immunology( and many other international organisations on allergy would say about such an irresponsible statement.

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