KP patients suffer as lone kidney transplant surgeon retires

Updated 16 Sep 2020

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The government has recently granted extension to a professor at the Lady Reading Hospital despite presence of such other specialists. — Photo courtesy Sirajuddin/File
The government has recently granted extension to a professor at the Lady Reading Hospital despite presence of such other specialists. — Photo courtesy Sirajuddin/File

PESHAWAR: The retirement of Prof Dr Asif Malik, the only transplant surgeon in public sector hospitals of the province, has brought the renal transplant surgeries to a halt, dashing the hopes of around 70 patients waiting for their turn to undergo free procedures and regain healthy kidneys at the Institute of Kidney Diseases (IKD), Peshawar.

So far, 300 patients, including 40 Afghan nationals, have undergone free kidney transplants at the IKD. The surgeries were performed by a team of doctors led by Prof Asif Malik who retired on Tuesday.

The cost of renal transplant in private hospitals is about Rs2 million, which is virtually out of reach of the people.

The Provincial Doctors Association (PDA) has requested the government to grant extension or hire Prof Malik’s services so that the patients could get the facility of renal transplant.

Uncertainty surrounds procedures to be performed at Institute of Kidney Diseases

“The prevalence of renal failure cases is very high.

The IKD is the only transplant centre which has been performing successful renal transplants and Prof Malik’s retirement has created a big vacuum,” PDA chairman Dr Zubair Tahir told Dawn.

Dr Tahir, a urologist, said many wards in other hospitals had been closed recently and as such Prof Malik who had all the relevant experience be requested to stay on.

In February 2018, the government established Medical Transplantation Regulatory Authority (MTRA) and the public sector IKD had become the first institute of the province to start kidney transplantation.

The MTRA was set up to stop illegal transplants and register hospitals for legal transplants to benefit the people.

Prof Malik, who was made administrator of the MTRA, registered IKD, Combined Military Hospital, Rehman Medical Institute and North West General Hospital for renal transplants and the Lady Reading Hospital, Hayatabad Medical Complex, Khyber Teaching Hospital and Kuwait Teaching Hospital for corneal transplants. So far, a total of 400 corneal transplants have taken place under the MTRA.

After the establishment of IKD, former caretaker chief minister Shamsul Mulk made Prof Malik its first director to run it on the pattern of Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplantation (SIUT) for the treatment of poor patients in the province.

The institute was meant to extend services to the patients in nephrology and urology and carry out transplants.

Doctors at the IKD told Dawn that most of the patients came for transplant to avail of Prof Malik’s services and now those on the waiting list would not be able to get the surgeries done after his retirement.

“About a dozen patients had already arranged donors and completed other legal formalities in line with the MTRA, but they have virtually lost the opportunity of free procedures and their future is uncertain as they cannot afford cost of private transplants,” they said.

The government has recently granted extension to a professor at the LRH despite presence of such other specialists.

The doctors claimed that Prof Malik was indispensable and had no substitution at present because he was the only renal transplant surgeon at the public sector hospital.

They urged the government to retain Prof Malik’s services for saving lives of the patients.

Published in Dawn, September 16th, 2020