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January 11, 2019

KP’s lone transplant unit likely to cease procedures if not given funds

National

January 11, 2019

PESHAWAR: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s lone transplant unit in the Institute of Kidney Diseases (IKD) is likely to cease kidney transplant procedures if the provincial government didn’t provide adequate funds and arrange surgeons to the institute, official sources told The News. This is the only public sector facility in the province and there is a single transplant surgeon, Prof Asif Malik.

There is a greater concern that this unit is most likely to be shut if Prof Asif Malik retires from service next year. The IKD was established in 2007, with the aim of offering advanced services in nephrology, urology and renal transplantation in KP. Unfortunately, all the successive governments didn’t develop the institute as per modern day requirement of patients and reduced it to the services, which are mostly available in other hospitals.

The IKD, in collaboration with KP Medical Transplantation Regulatory Authority (KP-MTRA), Khyber Medical University (KMU) and Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), on Thursday organised Transplantation Awareness Day in KMU and the aim was to inform the government as well as medical fraternity and masses about benefits of safe and legal transplantations.

Health Minister Dr Hisham Inamullah Khan was invited to chair the event as chief guest. He arrived two hours late when most of the speakers had already delivered speeches and spoken about the issues mostly related to the government. And since the minister was not present, he seemed to have not learnt about the challenges the IKD administration is faced with. A number of patients recovered after getting transplant in IKD and their family members were also invited to the event.

Two female patients, fully recovered now after having renal and cornea transplantations done in Peshawar, narrated their tragic stories and the agonies they had gone through after the disease was diagnosed. One of them, a young woman, said she had almost lost her eyesight but the cornea transplant enabled her to see this beautiful world again and then burst into tears.

Prof Asif Malik, also administrator of KP-MTRA, urged doctors and the masses to promote legal transplantation of human organs to save precious human lives and disappoint people involved in illegal medical practices. He said they had recognised IKD and two private centers, Rehman Medical Institute (RMI) and Northwest General Hospital, for kidney transplantation. In IKD, renal transplant procedures were started in 2008-09. At that time, the government had set up two units and appointed two urologists – Prof Attaur Rahman and Prof Nasir Orakzai. Prof Attaur Rahman was supposed to do renal transplant while Prof Nasir Orakzai was assigned to handle the urology cases.

Prof Attaur Rahman retired a few years ago but didn’t train a single doctor, not even in his unit. He reportedly made attempts multiple times but people in in his unit didn’t want to learn these specialised skills. The government had later appointed Prof Asif Malik who had also begun renal transplant procedures in IKD.

Interestingly, a faculty member, Dr Bakhtawar Gul Wazir, who was promoted on the vacant seat of Prof Attaur Rahman, has never done even a single transplant procedure. According to sources in IKD, he was initially appointed as senior registrar in transplant surgery and now occupied the professor position of transplantsurgeon but could neither learn the skills nor surrendered his position so that the institute could hire a trained renal surgeon to continue services after Prof Asif Malik’s retirement and train young doctors in the field.

Prof Asif Malik has reportedly transferred his skills to his four-member team, including Dr Ahmad Nawaz, Dr Tariq, Dr Mushtaq and Dr Naseeb Dad Khan. However, insiders told The News that it was unlikely they could do transplant procedure without supervision of a skilled man like Prof Asif Malik.

The IKD desperately needs financial assistance to continue providing free services such as renal transplant, dialysis and regular free drugs to patients after renal procedures. The IKD has conducted around 150 renal procedures so far and it costs IKD Rs40,000 to Rs50,000 to provide free drugs to every patient after transplant surgery. The government used to provide Rs170 million to IKD annually, including Rs100 million for free transplant and Rs70 million for free dialysis.

This year, only Rs50 million has been released to IKD and the amount is not sufficient to continue free services anymore. According to sources, the institute is short of resources and may stop free services. It needs urgent government attention in terms of funds and approving staff recruitment as it has recorded 700 percent rise in patients since its establishment in 2007.

It had 35 beds with accommodation of 266 patients, coming from all over the province and its adjoining tribal areas when it was set up. The Awami National Party-Pakistan People’s Party coalition government had increased its bed capacity from 35 to 100 beds owing to unprecedented rise in the numbers of patients.

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