Indian surgeon to perform live transplants in Karachi

KARACHI: Vice Chancellor, Dow University of Health Sciences (DUHS), Saeed Quraishy, on Saturday said that an Indian liver transplant surgeon Dr Subhash Gupta is arriving at Karachi this month to carry out three to four liver transplant surgeries at the Ojha campus of DUHS.

Talking to media on the sidelines of a Scientific Conference on Gastroenterology and Liver Diseases, organized by Pak GI and Liver Diseases Society (PGLDS) here at a local hotel, Prof Saeed Quraishy said despite border tensions between Pakistan and India and deadly skirmishes on the line of control in Kashmir and working boundary in Punjab, eminent Indian surgeon Gupta is reaching Karachi with his team to perform liver transplants at the Ojha campus of DUHS this month.

Eminent gastroenterologists and Hepatologist from public and private sectors hospitals including PGLDS Patron Prof Dr Shahid Ahmed, Prof Dr Waseem Jaffri, Dr Lubna Kamani, Prof Amanullah Abbassi, Dr Sajjad Jamil, Dr Nazish Butt and others also spoke on various water-borne diseases, liver ailments, different types of viral hepatitis and other issues in the gastroenterology and hepatology.

Indian surgeon Gupta had performed the last liver transplant at Ojha campus of DUHS. He will this time train a team of Pakistani surgeons to carry out this complicated surgery locally without any foreign experts’ supervision.

“Trained human resource constraint is the basic hurdle that is preventing us from performing liver transplants locally and a large number of our patients are going to Shifa International Islamabad and abroad for liver transplants”, Prof Quraishy said and adding hoped that hopefully, Pakistani surgeons would be able to perform liver transplants after learning from Indian and other countries’ surgeons.

He maintained that provision of safe and clean drinking water was most important intervention in preventing and controlling the outbreak of Extensively-Drug Resistant (XDR) typhoid in Sindh, which has now spread from Karachi to Sukkur after initially reported in Hyderabad and advised people to boil water at least for 20 minutes and then consume it for drinking purposes to avoid contracting infectious water-borne diseases.

Lauding the organizers of conference, he said Dow health varsity was providing hands-on training to young gastroenterologists and hepatologists and offered his varsity’s resources to the Pak GI and Liver Diseases Society in holding joint training sessions, conferences and workshops to train the young doctors.

Patron of the Pak GI and Liver Diseases Society (PGLDS) Prof Dr Shahid Ahmed said sewage-mixed water had emerged as the major cause of stomach illnesses caused by the bacteria and viruses including typhoid, gastroenteritis, diarrhoea and various types of hepatitis in Karachi and rest of Sindh where millions were forced to drink filthy water without knowing its risks and hazards.

“In these circumstances, we have established the PGLDS to create awareness among masses and to train young doctors so that people could be prevented and those suffering from the ailments, could be treated properly”, he informed.

Demanding government to impose an immediate ban on over-the-counter sale of antibiotics without any prescription in Pakistan, Dr Shahid Ahmed also urged the doctors to prescribe third generation antibiotics ‘very cautiously’ to avoid emergence of more drug resistant strains of deadly bacteria.

Dr Lubna Kamani deplored that hepatitis C was spreading at an alarming rate in Pakistan and despite being a preventable disease, it was causing thousands of deaths in the urban and rural areas of Pakistan.

“If hepatitis C is not controlled in Pakistan in the coming years, other countries may impose travel restrictions on Pakistan and only those people who don’t have Hepatitis B and C virus in their blood, would be allowed to travel to the developed countries”, she warned.

Prof Dr Waseem Jaffri in his keynote address spoke on the various types of Hepatitis including A, B, C, D and E, discussed their mode of transmission and available treatment options in Pakistan but stressed that only option for the government and people was to prevent these viral hepatitis to save lives and monetary resources on their treatment.