Tuesday July 16, 2024

Chinese technology can help cut down healthcare cost ten-fold: experts

By M. Waqar Bhatti
May 05, 2023

ISLAMABAD: Healthcare expenses and the cost of doing health business can be brought down 10 times in Pakistan by adopting Chinese medical technology and following medical ethics while prescribing medicines and diagnostic tests, experts said on Thursday.

They also called for promoting lifestyle medicine in the country including traditional Chinese medicine, Ayurvedic and Unani medicine and introducing emerging technologies like stem cell and gene therapies to treat incurable diseases.

“Current inappropriate use of high-cost Western medical technology is exponentially increasing the cost of doing business in the health sector. Hospitals tend to pass on this heavy burden on the patients resulting in catastrophic expenditures and chances of impoverishment even in the middle-class families due to higher cost of treatment”, said Prof. Shahzad Ali Khan, Vice Chancellor Health Services Academy (HSA) Islamabad while addressing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signing ceremony. Chief Executive Officer of the Institute of Regenerative Medicine (IRM) Dr Salman Ghani, CEO of the Islamabad Healthcare Regulatory Authority (IHRA) Dr Quaid Saeed, Registrar HSA Dr Tariq Mahmood, Prof. Ramesh Kumar, former medical director CDA Dr Hasan Orooj and others were also present.

Under the MoU, signed between the Institute of Regenerative Medicine (IRM) and the Health Services Academy (HSA), certificate and diploma courses would be started by the academy for the training of healthcare professionals in the field of regenerative medicine, stem cell technology and use of latest medical equipment and technology. Prof. Shahzad maintained that Pakistani healthcare professionals need to switch to alternate sources of medical technology, especially enhance collaboration with China in the fields of biotechnology, regenerative medicine and traditional Chinese medicines, which are not only highly effective but are also inexpensive and affordable.

Deploring that the majority of technicians in the private healthcare sector were untrained, Prof. Shahzad said the Health Services Academy had started developing partnerships with national and international health institutions to start diploma, certificate and degree courses so that trained and qualified manpower could be provided to the healthcare sector in the country. “Till 2018, HSA was a dormant institute but after that, we started developing partnerships with national and international universities and healthcare institutions and at the moment, we have established collaborations with US, European and Asian varsities and institutions for the medical technology transfer and training of our students and professionals”, he informed.

Urging the Institute of Regenerative Medicine (IRM) to promote lifestyle medicine in Pakistan, he said HSA and IRM could collaborate not only to introduce highly effective and inexpensive medical treatment to various diseases but also to provide trained manpower to introduce alternative forms of medicines and treatment in Pakistan.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of IRM Dr Salman Gilani said IRM was the only institute in Pakistan where specialized stem cell regenerative medicine procedures were being performed, saying all kinds of diseases including hereditary diseases like Thalassemia, bone and joint issues like osteoarthritis, baldness, cancers, stroke and many others could be treated and even cured. “We have used the stem cell technology very effectively in some of the diseases and in the next phase, we are going to introduce gene therapy to treat and cure hereditary diseases including Thalassemia, bone regeneration and treatment of auto-immune disorders”, he said adding that IRM was the only institute which had its own stem cell lab in the country.