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May 1, 2018

No hospital in South Punjab for organ transplants


May 1, 2018

ISLAMABAD: The Punjab Human Organ Transplant Authority (PHOTA) has not approved any hospital located in South Punjab to conduct transplants, forcing the ailing patients of those areas to travel hundreds of kilometres to reach other districts of the province for treatment, The News has learnt. According to documents, available with The News, at least 65 patients belonging to various districts of South Punjab including Bhakhar (1), Bahawalnagar (5), Bahawalpur (8), Dera Ghazi Khan (11), Khanewal (5), Multan (9), Muzzaffargarh (6), Rahim Yar Khan (4), Rajanpur (8) and Vehari (8) underwent transplantation procedures in various categories including renal, liver, bone marrow, cardiac, corneal, etc during the last one year or so at Lahore, Faisalabad, Rawalpindi or any other nearby approved facility.

After adopting the Transplantation of Human Organs and Tissues Act (HOTA) 2010, the Punjab government established the PHOTA in 2013. The funding for the authority could only be earmarked a couple of years back after the government appointed Prof Dr Faisal Masood as its director general. Punjab Health Minister Kh Salman Rafique is chairman of the Authority with the SecretaryHealth as its secretary.

According to documents, out of 23 registered hospitals for transplants (8 public and 15 private) 17 are located in Lahore, three located in Rawalpindi and one each in Multan, Gujranwala and Faisalabad.

Similarly, out of the 16 hospitals (4 public and 12 private) whose registration is under process with PHOTA, nine are located in Lahore, five in Rawalpindi and one each in Bahawalpur and Chiniot.

The registered government hospitals include Sheikh Zayed Hospital, Lahore (Renal), Lahore General Hospital (Renal), College of Ophthalmology & Allied Sciences Mayo Hospital, Lahore (Corneal), Children Hospital, Lahore (Bone Marrow), Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi Institute of Cardiology, Multan (Cardiac) and DHQ Hospital, Gujranwala (Renal).

The private registered hospitals include Jinnah Memorial Hospital, Rawalpindi (Renal), Bahria Town Hospital, Lahore (Renal), Surgimed Hospital, Lahore (Renal), Ihsan Mumtaz Hospital, Lahore (Renal), National Hospital & Medical Centre, Lahore (Renal & Bone Marrow), Sharif Medical City Hospital, Lahore (Renal), Bilal Hospital, Rawalpindi (Renal), Doctor Hospital, Lahore (Renal), Bahria International Orchard, Lahore (Liver), Punjab Medical College, Allied Hospital, Faisalabad (Renal & Corneal) and Shoukat Khanam Hospital, Lahore (Bone Marrow). Similarly, the re-registration of three government hospitals including Mayo Hospital Lahore (Renal), Services Institute of Medical Sciences (Renal) and Sheikh Zayed Hospital Lahore (Liver) is pending with PHOTA. Similarly, re-registration of three private hospitals including Akram Medical Complex Lahore (Renal), Doctors Hospital, Lahore (Liver) and Al-Syed Hospital Rawalpindi (Renal) is still pending and the process of respective transplants has been halted.

On the other hand, registration of four hospitals including Jinnah Hospital, Lahore (Renal), Pakistan Kidney & Liver Institute & Research Center (PKLIRC), Lahore (Liver, Renal & Pancreas), Benazir Bhutto Hospital, Rawalpindi (Renal) and Victoria Hospital, Bahawalpur (Renal) is under process. Similarly, registration of 12 private hospitals including Layton Rehmatullah Benevolent Trust (LRBT), Lahore (Corneal), Al-Shifa Trust, Rawalpindi (Corneal), Aadil Hospital, Lahore (Renal and Corneal), Al-Ahsan Welfare Trust, Lahore (Corneal), Lahore Medicare Institute of Clinical Ophthalmology, Lahore (Corneal), Amanat Eye Hospital, Rawalpindi (Corneal), Hameed Latif Hospital, Lahore (Renal), Al-Sadiq Saad Shaheed Hospital, Rawalpindi (Renal), National Eye Hospital, Lahore (Corneal), Al-Syed Hospital, Rawalpindi (Liver, Corneal and Stem Cell), Ramzan Ali Syed Hospital, Lahore (Renal) and Noor Eye Donor Association, Chiniot (Corneal) is also under process.

Since the formation of the Authority, around 50 transplant surgeons have conducted over 900 transplants in the entire province so far. Sources further told The News that the Punjab government and health department could not make functional the lone approved cardiac transplant facility — Ch. Parvaiz Elahi Institute of Cardiology (CPEIC) in Multan for the last three years.

Established and equipped as per international standards, according to an official source in health department, the CPEIC Multan is the only place in the country where the cardiac transplants could be performed, but due to reasons best known to the government and its subordinate departments, not a single patient could be treated since its registration with the PHOTA, with a panel of doctors some three years back. He further said an amount ranging from Rs15 million to Rs20 is required to perform each cardiac transplant in CPEIC Multan.

Had the CPEIC Multan been made functional, the source added, Pakistanis willing to travel to neighbouring countries like India for heart transplants could have avoided their sufferings.

Talking to The News on Monday, Deputy Director Vigilance PHOTA Adnan Ahmed Bhatti confirmed that there was not a single health facility in South Punjab registered where transplants could be conducted.

“We are a very open forum and any hospital whether private or public can be registered with us but,” the DD said, “they (hospitals) have to meet certain conditions to get the registration.” He further said the authority was going to establish its regional offices in Multan and Rawalpindi in the coming months to facilitate people of those areas.

To a question, the official conceded to the fact that in the absence of any such facility in South Punjab patients have to suffer a lot to travel to Lahore, Faisalabad or Rawalpindi for treatment. Despite several efforts and assurance by the spokesman of the Punjab Government Malik Muhammad Ahmed Khan during the last one week, the government’s version could not be obtained.

Similarly, several attempts were made over the past one week to get response from Punjab Health Minister Kh Salman Rafique and Secretary Specialized Healthcare Punjab Najam Ahmed Shah but they too didn’t respond.

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