Liver transplant facility

Published January 10, 2015
A surgeon holds the liver during an operation.—Reuters/File
A surgeon holds the liver during an operation.—Reuters/File

ONE of the unfortunate characteristics of Pakistan is the large number of projects that look viable enough on paper but come to grief on the ground.

Thankfully, though, also available are a few endeavours that, in their success and commitment, stand out like beacons. One that immediately comes to mind is Abdul Sattar Edhi’s vast enterprise; another is the Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplantation in Karachi, which has over the years proved the steadfastness of its dedication to serve all patients alike, free of cost, and with the highest standards of professionalism.

It is in this context that the latter institution’s desire to set up a liver transplant facility must be framed. On Thursday, the provincial health department sent a summary to the chief minister for the approval of a request to provide a grant of Rs1bn to SIUT for the establishment of such a centre. And in the interest of patients who need help in this regard all over the country, there is really no reason why the request should not be approved.

Also read: Rs1bn sought for SIUT liver transplant facility

As a summary noted, the facility already has full infrastructure for a large-scale kidney transplantation department, with the requisite technical expertise and trained staff that provide “qualitative healthcare services”.

The facility has the space, having set up a new building alongside the original premises of the Karachi Civil Hospital. And there is no denying the issue: official estimates say that there is an “acute need” to save lives through transplantation since some 150,000 patients need the procedure every year.

The institution has spearheaded a campaign Pakistan desperately needs, ie countering people’s resistance to and misunderstanding of cadaveric organ donations. But in the case of liver transplants, fortunately, even this stumbling block is not there: the science for live-donor liver transplantation has been in practice for over a decade since this is the only organ in the body that can regenerate itself.

For the larger benefit, SIUT ought to be provided funds for furthering its healthcare services.

Published in Dawn, January 10th, 2015

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