KARACHI - Despite ongoing border tension between Pakistan and India and deadly skirmishes on the Line of Control and Working Boundary, eminent Indian liver transplant surgeon Prof Dr Subhash Gupta is arriving here with his team to perform three to four liver transplants at the Ojha Campus of Dow University of Health Sciences (DUHS) in March.

“Indian liver transplant surgeon Dr Subhash Gupta is arriving in Karachi this month (in March) to carry out three to four liver transplant surgeries at the Ojha Campus of Dow University of Health Sciences,” Prof Saeed Quraishy, vice chancellor of DUHS, announced on the sidelines of a scientific conference on gastroenterology and liver diseases organised by the Pak GI and Liver Diseases Society (PGLDS) at a hotel here on Saturday.

Dozens of leading gastroenterologists and hepatologists from public and private sector hospitals, including PGLDS Patron Prof Dr Shahid Ahmed, Prof Dr Waseem Jaffri, Dr Lubna Kamani from Liaquat National Hospital, DUHS Registrar Prof Amanullah Abbassi, Dr Sajjad Jamil and Dr Nazish Butt, spoke on waterborne diseases, liver ailments, different types of viral hepatitis and other issues in the gastroenterology and hepatology.

Gupta had performed the last liver transplant at Ojha Campus in December last year and he is arriving in Karachi again to perform more liver transplants and train a team of Pakistani surgeons so that they can carry out this complicated surgery locally without any foreign expert’s supervision.

“A lack of trained human resource is preventing us from performing liver transplants locally. A large number of our patients is going to Shifa International in Islamabad and abroad for liver transplants,” Prof Quraishy said. He expressed the hope that Pakistani surgeons would be able to perform liver transplant after learning from experts from India and other countries.

The DUHS vice chancellor maintained that provision of safe and clean drinking water was the most important intervention in preventing and controlling the outbreak of extensively drug-resistant (XDR) typhoid in Sindh, which had now spread from Karachi to Sukkur. It was initially reported in Hyderabad. He advised people to boil water at least for 20 minutes and then consume it to avoid waterborne diseases.

Lauding the organizers of GI and Liver Diseases conference, he said the Dow University was providing hands-on training to young gastroenterologists and hepatologists and offered his varsity’s resources to the Pak GI and Liver Diseases Society for 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 contaminated 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 diseases can be prevented and those suffering from diseases can be treated properly,” he said.

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

Dr Lubna Kamani from LNH 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.

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

Other speakers Dr Sajjad Jamil, Dr Nazish Butt from Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC), Prof Amanullah Abbassi and others addressed technical sessions and workshops during daylong conference.