ISLAMABAD: As per vision of its founding members, Pakistan Kidney and Liver Institute (PKLI) had a target of 200 kidney transplants for this year. However, it has hardly achieved 25 percent of the target— thanks to the new management running under the umbrella of Punjab government.
Since the Punjab government has taken over the control of PKLI, liver transplantation service has been closed down. The new management has carried out not a single liver transplant after March 2019. Only three patients have successfully received a liver transplant and that too by the previous administration.
The PKLI had a target of 200 kidney transplants for the current year but only 50 patients have received kidney transplants. The Punjab government was supposed to provide funds to run the hospital. However, according to well-placed sources, a majority of these kidney transplant operations have been carried out through donations and other resources instead of Punjab government’s funds.
The previous management mainly Prof Dr Saeed, brought 25 highly skilled physicians and surgeons from United States, United Kingdom and other countries to deliver state of the art health facilities to the people of Pakistan. These liver and kidney transplantation experts left their luxurious lifestyle and joined PKLI on bare minimum salaries with restrictions on private practices outside PKLI, in order to serve their country. However, half of these 25 highly skilled doctors have left PKLI and the remaining ones are also mulling to resign as the purpose of their joining the PKLI is not served in letter and spirit.
Launched on December 25, 2017, the PKLI served 303423 patients till March 2019 and provided free or subsidized treatment to 89 percent of the total patients. It was running Hepatitis Prevention and Treatment Program (HPTP) clinics in 23 districts of Punjab. From December 2017 till March 2019, a total of 279,940 patients were registered and 400,000 people have been engaged in awareness campaign.
As per the data, the HPTP clinics screened 515848 patients from December 2017 to March 2019. Similarly, 394468 patients were vaccinated through the hepatitis prevention and treatment program being run by PKLI. However, since the Punjab government took over the control of PKLI, the HPTP program has been closed down or merged with the Punjab government’s Hepatitis Control Program and no more patients are being treated through this program.
The PKLI data further shows that HPTP clinics in 23 districts and Hepatitis Prevention Control Clinic in Lahore screened a total of 914872 patients in 15 months. Similarly, the PKLI carried out 15775 ultrasound, 4942 Fibro scan and 2243 Endoscopy. However, after March 2019 almost all these facilities have been closed down by Punjab government.
The previous management was successfully running the telemedicine program and it was collecting an authentic medical data of the people of Punjab through HPTP and HPTC programs. While taking interest in this data collection program, Gilead Sciences, Inc. —an American biotechnology company that researches, develops and commercializes drugs had approached the previous management and expressed its desire to collaborate with PKLI for research purposes. However, this could not be materialized.
The PKLI as per the vision of previous management was supposed to generate its own funds for 75% of its cost after three years. The funds would have been generated through business initiatives like PKLI-owned shopping malls, pharmaceutical companies, hotels, bazaars and donations. However, it is on the verge of closure after the policies of current provincial government. The construction of this project has been stopped as the Centre was supposed to build a 470 bed hospital. However, only 60 beds facility has been constructed so far.
When contacted Dr Hafiz Ijaz Ahmed, acting head (Dean) of PKLI said only a couple of doctors have left PKLI. A majority of the doctors are still associated with PKLI. The hospital is still in the phase of construction therefore it is not functioning in its full capacity.
When asked if PKLI has met the target of 200 kidney transplant and whether it is true that only 50 kidney transplant operations have been carried out during last one year, the PKLI’s acting Dean said he doesn’t have the exact data. “The PKLI is not fully functional as there is only 60 beds capacity in the hospital and this is one of the major reasons of not meeting the target”.
He confirmed that no liver transplant operation has been carried out after March 2019. When asked the reason of closing down the HPTP and HPTC clinics, Dr Ijaz said the Punjab government already has a hepatitis control programme, therefore, the HPTP clinics were not needed; hence they have been merged with the Punjab Hepatitis Control Programme.
When asked whether PKLI has faced reduction in number of patients after the Punjab government took over the charge, the acting Dean said he doesn’t have the patients’ data therefore, he cannot comment on it.
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