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January 9, 2015

Australia donates plasmapheresis machines to SZAB Medical University


January 9, 2015

The Australian government, through its AUSAid programme, donated plasmapheresis machines to Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto (SZAB) Medical University, PIMS, here on Thursday.
The machines were handed over to the university’s vice chancellor, Professor Javed Akram, while Australian High Commissioner to Pakistan Peter Heyward got first-hand operational experience of the machines during a routine transfer of plasma to patients.
Speaking at the ceremony and opening of the new Plasmapheresis Centre at the University Hospital, PIMS, Peter noted that the Australian government is supporting the people of Pakistan with almost $75 million of aid; such assistance in the field of medical health is also paying back. “The government of Australia would continue to help medical university hospitals like PIMS in the future as well since these are the true health delivery institutions,” Peter said.
Speaking at the ceremony, Professor Javed Akram thanked the Australian government for its generous contribution for the advancement of education and health projects in Pakistan. “It is a matter of great satisfaction to learn that Australian Aid has been providing significant financial assistance to the Pakistan Myasthenic Welfare Organisation (PMWO) for provision of advance health care facility of plasmapheresis in Pakistan through Plasmapheresis Excellence Centres in teaching hospitals,” he said, adding “many precious lives have been saved through this treatment.”
“This is a life-saving project for rapid clinical management of patients with a variety of disorders, including those of the immune system; these include life-threatening conditions like Myasthenia Gravis, GBS, CIDP, Polyneuropathy, and other medical disorders,” the VC maintained.
Plasmapheresis is the removal, treatment, and return of (components of) blood plasma from blood circulation. It is a medical procedure performed outside the body. The method is also used during plasma

donation: blood is removed from the body, blood cells and plasma are separated, the blood cells are returned while the plasma is collected and frozen to preserve it for eventual use in the manufacture of a variety of medications.
Professor Akram recollected that in 2008, as principal of the Allama Iqbal Medical College, he took personal interest for the initiation of this project at Jinnah Hospital, Lahore, as many patients were dying because of the non-availability of the facility in the Lahore region.
He informed the high commissioner that during the dengue disaster of 2010-11, this was the only centre working on ground in Punjab for provision of mega unit platelets to dengue fever patients, leading to thousands of lives being saved. The vice chancellor said, “We feel privileged to say that PMWO is operating the only mobile plasmapheresis service in Pakistan.”

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