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KP govt to launch initiative to curb chronic diseases

Bureau Report
January 25, 2023

PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government is launching a programme to put brakes on the non-communicable diseases, also known as chronic diseases, in the province.

This was decided at a meeting held at the Khyber Medical University on Tuesday, according to a press release.

The meeting was informed that a Khyber Pakhtunkhwa non-communicable diseases (NCD) action framework was needed because ailments, including cardiovascular, diabetes, chronic respiratory disorders, cancers and common mental disorders, were responsible for 50 per cent of all deaths and 40 per cent of overall disability-adjusted life years lost in the province.

The meeting, which was also attended by director general health services Dr Shaukat Ali, Dr Akram Shah, chief of health sector reforms unit, and World Bank representatives, was told that NCD epidemic risks crippling already overburdened health system and fragile economy of the province, warranting a time-critical need to identify and implement affordable effective solutions to address non-communicable diseases.

The meeting was informed that a new global health research centre called Centre for IMPACT had been launched in Pakistan recently thanks to collaboration between seven leading universities, four from Pakistan, including KMU, and three UK-based.
The participants were informed that the centre in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was led by Prof Ziaul Haq, the KMU Vice-Chancellor.

Published in Dawn, January 25th, 2023
Evercare Hospital Lahore. Located at D1 Commercial NECHS Lahore.



Mother and Child Hospitalospita 200 beds Layyah under construction by China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation.
60% work has done .
Project completion time Dec 2023.


Under Construction Shaukat Khanum Memorial Hospital Karachi at DHA Phase 9.


The Aga Khan Hospital for Women in Karimabad, Karachi and Aga Khan Maternal and Child Care Centre in Hyderabad, part of the Aga Khan University Hospitals (AKUH) network; and Aga Khan Medical Centre in Gilgit, part of the Aga Khan Health Services (AKHS) network, have become the first hospitals in Pakistan to receive the Level 5 SafeCare certification.

Poor healthcare in low- and middle-income countries leads to millions of preventable deaths each year. However, these countries historically have a shortage of institutions that rate, improve and incentivize healthcare quality. This is the gap where SafeCare steps in to intervene and innovate. An initiative of PharmAccess, Joint Commission International (JCI), and Council for Health Service Accreditation of Southern Africa (COHSASA), SafeCare is a methodology with international accredited standards, aiming to improve quality care in low- and middle income countries, where 3.6 million people die every year because of low quality care. Level 5 status is given to institutions that demonstrate high-quality standards across the SafeCare Service Elements.

“SafeCare certification is an endorsement that a health facility has met certain internationally recognized quality and safety standards for patient care,” said Dr Farhat Abbas, interim Chief Executive Officer of Aga Khan University (AKU) Health Services in Pakistan. “In addition to the SafeCare certification, AKUH is also accredited by JCI, and its clinical laboratories are accredited by the College of American Pathologists for fast and accurate testing. These accreditations are a true testament to the high-quality of healthcare and patient safety we provide.”

The French Medical Institute for Mothers and Children (FMIC) in Kabul has also become the first hospital in Afghanistan to receive the SafeCare certification. The facility is managed by AKU.

Speaking on what it means to receive the accreditation, Syed Nadeem Husain Abbas, Chief Executive Officer of AKHS, Pakistan commented, “We are very excited about receiving the SafeCare certification, as it brings us one step closer to the level of excellence in healthcare that we believe our communities need and which we aspire to deliver. Our aim now is to take the quality of our health services to the next level and to inspire other hospitals and medical centres in Pakistan to do the same.”
AKU and AKHS, both agencies of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), work hand-in-hand to deliver high-quality health services across Pakistan. In addition to the main hospital in Karachi, AKU operates four secondary hospitals, as well as 290+ clinical laboratories and medical centres throughout the country. To further extend this network, AKHS operates 113 health facilities, including two comprehensive medical centres, across Pakistan.

“We are committed to providing patient safety and quality healthcare. With the addition of four hospitals in Pakistan and Afghanistan, the number of SafeCare-certified facilities in the AKDN health system has reached 38, including 34 medical centres in Kenya and Tanzania,” said Dr Zeenat Sulaiman, Global Head of Quality, Clinical Programmes and Projects at AKHS.

PharmAccess CEO Nicole Spieker welcomed the newly SafeCare-certified hospitals in Pakistan and Afghanistan. “For better patient care and safety, PharmAccess will continue to expand and scale its SafeCare programme to support healthcare facilities offering primary, secondary and tertiary healthcare in different regions. The Aga Khan hospitals have demonstrated that with dedication, quality of care is possible everywhere,” she said.

Dr Mairaj Shah, Chief Operating Officer of AKUH Secondary Hospitals thanked the PharmAccess’ quality team for working and supporting the hospitals throughout the certification process.
SIUT Hosts First-Ever Robotic Surgery Symposium in Country

The Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplantation (SIUT) organized the first-ever 2-day international robotic surgery conference in the country.

Leading robotic surgeons from the USA and the UK and other Pakistani professionals attended the conference.

The robotic unit was commissioned at SIUT last year. It was inaugurated in February 2022 by Chief Minister Sindh Syed Murad Ali Shah.

Director SIUT Prof. Adib Rizvi said they will try to keep up with the latest technology and ensure its availability to those who need it.

China-Pakistan AI medical diagnosis lab commences operations, paving way for revolutionary healthcare solutions​

March 10, 2023

The Akbar Niazi Teaching Hospital in Islamabad has launched a collaborative AI medical diagnosis lab between China and Pakistan, which aims to offer free cervical cancer screening to 10,000 women in its initial phase.

A China-Pakistan joint Artificial Intelligence medical diagnosis lab has started working in the Akbar Niazi Teaching Hospital, Islamabad and it will provide free cervical cancer screening to 10,000 Pakistani women in its first phase of operation.

“It can also be used in the early diagnosis of other high-incidence of clinical tumors, such as breast cancer, gastric cancer, oral cancer, etc.,” said the project lead from Landing Med, a Chinese medical technology company that provided three cervical cancer screening devices along with 5,000 sets of supporting consumable items to Pakistan last December for the lab construction.
PESHAWAR: The public sector Peshawar Institute of Cardiology on Saturday become the country’s first hospital to carry out coronary angioplasty using the new technology RotaPro rotational atherectomy procedure, which saves time and delivers better results.

According to Dr Abidullah, head of the cardiology department at the PIC, a team of cardiologists successfully operated on a 60-year-old patient using RotaPro.

He told Dawn that more patients would undergo that procedure, which was meant to treat patients with hard and narrow heart vessels, which caused chest pain and heart attacks.

“In Europe and developing countries, this new technique has been used for around a year. It has produced highly encouraging results and therefore, the PIC introduced it to improve patient care,” he said.

Dr Abidullah of PIC says RotaPro saves time, delivers excellent results
Dr Abidullah said the institute had eight cardiologists, including four trained in the UK, and had so far performed 14,000 angiographies and over 1,400 heart surgeries free of charge under the government’s Sehat Card Plus health insurance scheme.

He said RotaPro was introduced and patented by the US-based company Boston Scientific as the latest version on the Rotablation technology to treat the “hard narrowing” of heart vessels.

“Boston Scientific has chosen us [PIC] as the first centre in Pakistan to launch its Rotapro system in light of our success stories, especially the lowest mortality rate,” he said.

The department head said modern medical technology could be used by a cardiologist single-handedly and that, too, in a short span of time without any pain or difficulty to patients without anaesthesia.

He said RotaPro was successful in shaving off the calcium within coronary arteries.

“This advanced procedure has the minimum complication rate but very positive results,” he said.

Prof Abidullah said the novel technique would benefit patients requiring treatment for calcified coronary lesions.

When contacted, PIC medical director Prof Shahkar Ahmad Shah said the institute had already introduced standing operating procedures for angiography on complex cases but that required more manpower and consumed a lot of time.

He said the new technology RotaPro was far better than others.

Prof Shah said since the start of operations in Dec 2020,the PIC had achieved many milestones.

He said early last year, the institute’s doctors performed the first-ever Transcatheter Aortic Valve Implantation on people not fit for open heart surgeries.

“Since then, we have done many procedures with results in line with international standards,” he said.

The medical director said a single procedure cost Rs3 million but the PIC did it free of charge.

He said the public sector 290-bedded facility had been carrying out heart surgeries and investigation, including angioplasty and angiographyes, with 95 per cent of them being covered by the government’s SCP programme.

“Last year, the PIC was approved by independent auditors for Geneva-based International Standardisation Organisation certification. We hope to get accreditation by the Joint Commission International this year,” he said.

Prof Shah said the institute strictly adhered to the rules of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Public Procurement Regulatory Authority for procuring medicines, surgical disposable items and other stuff due to the sensitive nature of procedures.

He said that patients received highly advanced services for which the institute had got well- qualified staff members as well as modern equipment and machines.

“Amid rising patient numbers, we [PIC] continue to expand services,” he said.

Published in Dawn, March 12th, 2023

China-Pakistan strengthen relations through traditional Chinese medicine cooperation​

March 26, 2023

ISLAMABAD: China and Pakistan are strengthening their bilateral relations through cooperation in the field of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). The health authorities of Sindh have initiated a program in which China will assist the country in training young doctors proficient in TCM.

The Sino-Pakistan Cooperation Center for Traditional Chinese Medicine (SPCCTCM) in the southern Hunan province of China will train the first batch of ten young doctors in TCM theory and clinical practice. Upon completion of their training, they will return to their hometowns in Pakistan to carry out TCM diagnosis and treatment.

The SPCCTCM, jointly established by the Hunan University of Medicine and the International Center for Chemical and Biological Sciences of the University of Karachi in Pakistan in 2020, aims to build an international cooperation centre integrating healthcare, TCM education and training, scientific research, and industrial cooperation.

This training project, with support from both the Chinese and Pakistani governments, will unite TCM colleges and hospitals to train talents with a certain level of TCM theory and clinical practice skills for Pakistan.

The cooperation between China and Pakistan in TCM is not only an academic exchange but also a cultural exchange, which will help further enhance the friendship between the two countries. Recently, an event was held in Islamabad to mark the return of Pakistani plant seeds from the Chinese space station.

Chinese and Pakistani researchers at the SPCCTCM will use these seeds to carry out breeding research and study the differences between planting on Earth and in space.

The acceptance of TCM in Pakistan has been increasing in recent years. Last year, a proprietary Chinese medicine, Jinhua Qinggan Granule, had a significant effect on treating Covid-19 patients in Pakistan. The Chinese side is also in communication with the Pakistani side to promote the registration process of another Chinese medicine in Pakistan.

The aim is to promote the entry of TCM into Pakistan and other countries along the Belt and Road (BRI) so that Chinese medicine can serve more people in the world.
Model and Render of 1200 Bed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto Cardiovascular Hospital Landhi Karachi.



First open-heart surgery performed on 5-year-old in Karachi​

Zainab makes a remarkable recovery being able to come off the ventilator within three hours

Tufail Ahmed
April 29, 2023

siut s director prof adib rizvi credits the success of the surgery to the hard work and dedication of his team of medical professionals photo express

SIUT's Director Prof Adib Rizvi credits the success of the surgery to the hard work and dedication of his team of medical professionals. PHOTO: EXPRESS

The Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplantation (SIUT) marked a significant milestone on Wednesday when they performed the first open-heart surgery on a 5-year-old girl, Zainab. The successful surgery was a testament to the immense trust that the people of Pakistan have in the Director of SIUT, Prof Adib Rizvi, and his team.

Zainab was diagnosed with a hole in her heart, which allowed blood to mix and increase blood flow to the lungs. She suffered frequent chest infections due to the condition. A team of 9 doctors, 2 perfusionists (who run the heart-lung machine), and 8 nurses worked tirelessly to ensure the safe and successful surgery and post-operative care of the child.

The procedure was performed in SIUT's Cardiac Operation Theatre, and Zainab made a remarkable recovery, being able to come off the ventilator within three hours. She has since made an excellent recovery and was discharged from the hospital on Friday (yesterday).

SIUT's Director Prof Adib Rizvi credits the success of the surgery to the hard work and dedication of his team of medical professionals. He also highlighted the importance of expanding and adding newer facilities and specialties to cater to the complex healthcare demands of the people of the country.

SIUT's patient-centric approach and commitment to providing free, high-quality care with dignity and compassion have been essential in achieving this goal.

To perform the first open-heart surgery at SIUT, a team of cardiologists and support staff established the Paediatric Cardiology Department, with the aim of providing a new service and developing protocols and processes to make the new division comparable to any international unit dealing with paediatric and congenital heart disease.

Prof Rizvi's vision has always been to develop the SIUT Children and Cardiac Hospital. From transforming an 8-bedded ward into an Institute of Urology and Transplantation to the Centre for Robotic Surgery especiality, SIUT continues to expand and improve its facilities and services, making quality healthcare accessible to all.

Chinese experience will upgrade Pakistan's herbal medicine industry​

Staff Reporter
Jun 14, 2023

More herbs can be cultivated in Islamabad (Gwadar Province) Pakistan. Hakeem Abdul Bari, Head of Research and Development at Pakistan's Hamdard Laboratories, said that Pakistan has the potential to play an important role in the export of herbs to the world.

The development of herbal medicine industry can not only increase the quality of medical care of the country but also contribute to the economy.
In recent years, many towns and villages in China have encouraged and guided local people to cultivate herbal medicine, which has increased their income and enriched them. Changshan Village in Anhui, China is a good example.

Our herb planting demonstration area was replaced by a barren slope. Currently 33 hectares of herbs have been planted in our village. "Our land was barren and drought-prone, not suitable for growing traditional cash crops," said Changshan village secretary Wang Shimao. So we encouraged farmers to use barren slopes and forest land for planting herbs.

More than 300 people are currently engaged in herbal medicine cultivation in the area, and the village has established a rural cooperative to help promote the local herbal medicine industry.

Pakistan can produce the best herbs in the world. However, the herbs we use are not only produced locally but also imported from all over the world. Hakeem noted that Pakistan's herbal medicine industry could benefit greatly from its seasonal variations. An example is the olive, which is said to be unable to grow anywhere except in the Mediterranean region.

However, at least 70 thousand acres of land in Pakistan are used for olive cultivation. There is also sandalwood or teakwood, which is said to grow only in temperate regions. Today, their cultivation has started in Pakistan and soon it will be on an industrial scale.

Hakeem's view is echoed by Pakistan Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association Chairman Syed Farooq Bukhari. There is a German company which I don't want to name which used to buy raw herbs from Pakistan. They cashed in on the herb, and by commercializing it, that company is now worth about a billion euros. Syed encouraged people to create awareness for commercialization of indigenous herbs.

There are many herbs which are not observed in Pakistan. It is a treasure that can solve many health problems. There is a lot of potential in this industry, and by developing it, our agriculture portfolio can also expand.

In this regard, there are examples we can cite, including India, China and Iran, Hakim added. They are protecting their herbs by expanding their cultivation and exporting and at the same time, they started getting geographical indications to protect their indigenous herbs, known as GI codes.

Space-bred varieties have proven to be better performers in terms of yield and resistance. Last year, seven types of Pakistani herbal seeds from the International Center for Chemical and Biological Sciences (ICCBS), University of Karachi and Hamdard University were first-ever China-Pakistan 'Seeds in Space' by China's Shenzhou 14 spacecraft. were sent into space under the project
Seeds sent into space were also stored here.

The goal is to see if there is any change in these seeds. This change can occur at the genetic level. The research conducted on wheat increased the yield by 11 percent,” said Dr. Ehsana Dar Farooq, Dean of Eastern Medicine at Hamdard University, adding that the herb seeds came to us on March 10, 2023, and now they are growing in the field.

The University and ICCBS are in collaboration in the program and keep each other updated.

Pharmaceutical sector granted major tax relief

Sohail Sarfraz
July 10, 2023

ISLAMABAD: The government has provided major tax relief to the pharmaceutical sector by allowing the reduced rate of one percent sales tax on the import of all kinds of raw materials used for the basic manufacture of pharmaceutical active ingredients and pharmaceutical products from July 1, 2023.

Previously, reduced rate of one percent sales tax was not applicable on the import of all kinds of raw materials of the pharmaceutical industry. Similarly, minimum rate of one percent sales tax was also not applicable on pharma raw materials having multiple usages. Now, the same inputs having multiple usages can be imported at a reduced rate of only one percent sales tax.

Searle partners with China’s Mabwell to sell Denosumab Biosimilars drugs in Pakistan

July 12, 2023

Searle Company Limited (Searle) has entered into a license agreement with China’s Mabwell Pharmaceuticals, under which Searle will manufacture, register, and market the Denosumab Biosimilars drugs in Pakistan.

Searle, which is principally engaged in the manufacture of pharmaceutical and other consumer products, shared the development in a notice to the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) on Wednesday.

“Mabwell is pleased to partner with Searle Co Ltd to commercialize and localize Denosumab biosimilars in Pakistan,” said Dr Datao Liu, Co-founder, Chairman of the Board, and CEO of Mabwell in a statement.

Liu said Pakistan is an important country in China’s Belt and Road Initiative with a large market and ‘great demand’. “This partnership will benefit the patients in Pakistan by providing high quality affordable biological medicines,” he added.

Similar sentiments were expressed by Syed Nadeem Ahmed, Group Managing Director and CEO of Searle Company Limited.

“Partnership with Mabwell is an integral part of our strategy to develop further our biotechnology business in Pakistan,” said Nadeem Ahmed.

“The goal of this project is not only to bring Mabwell products to Pakistan, but also to establish cooperation with such an innovative company as Mabwell.

“This cooperation also represents an important milestone for Searle Co Ltd., and for our patients in Pakistan that will ensure the social benefit from an increased access to high-quality affordable medicines” he added.

Searle is one of the top pharmaceutical companies in Pakistan having eight state-of-the art manufacturing facilities and global presence in 18 countries.

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