ISLAMABAD - Bone Marrow Transplant Unit was inaugurated Shif International Hospital here on Monday making it the fourth hospital of the country and first private sector hospital in Punjab, Northern areas and Kashmir to provide treatment for this complicated and expensive disease. Care2Childre, an Italian NGO, has supported Shifa International Hospital to establish Bone Marrow Transplant Unit. Initially the unit will work on experimental basis and each month a child would under go Bone Marrow Transplantation. The NGO has agreed to provide treatment for six children and BMT costs Rs1.5 million to Rs 2 million in Pakistan. Speaking on the occasion, the Italian Ambassador to Pakistan Vicenzo Pratti lauded the steps being taken by Shifa International in the field of medical sciences. He said he himself belong to a family of doctors and knew the importance of healthcare and medical perspective. "I am quite impressed by the cooperation, support and competitiveness and the able doctors of Pakistan and specially those of Shifa" he added. He opined that such initiative in healthcare sector would help to fortify friendly ties between Pakistan and Italy. Speaking on the occasion, Managing Director Pakistan Bait-ul-Mall ensured to provide Rs 300,000 per patient. He said in recent years hepatitis, cancer and heart problems have emerged as a biggest health challenge for Pakistan. The financial aid provided by Pakistan Bait-ul-Mall for the treatment of poor patients is mostly given for these three major diseases, he said. He said treatment is not the only solution, adding that both public and private sector has to work on preventive measure as well to cope with these health challenges. While giving briefing about Bone Marrow Transplant, Dr Kamaran Rasheed, Managing Director Shifa International Hospital, said it is a complicated and expensive procedure. Every year in Pakistan 5000 to 6000 patients of Bone Marrow are being diagnosed and if proper treatment is not provided timely the mortality rate is hundred percent. The Bone Marrow Disease is quite common in third world countries and unfortunately Pakistan is lacking far behind in this field of medical science and there is no state of art medical facility to provide treatment to Bone Marrow patients. A bone marrow transplant is a procedure that transplants healthy bone marrow into a patient whose bone marrow is not working properly. While shedding light on the causes of marrow deficiency he said "it is caused by abnormal red blood cell production, such as thalassemia or sickle cell disease, lack of normal blood cell production (aplastic anemia), Immune system disorders such as congenital neutropenia and severe combined immunodeficiency syndrome causes Bone Marrow disease". In concluding remarks Dr. Zaheer Ahmed, Chief Executive Officer and President Shifa International Hospital, termed the initiative as a milestone in the history of Shifa International Hospital. He thanked the organization of cure2children for their support and confidence in opening of such an important unit in the hospital and for the future support for the treatment of patients.