LAHORE - Like other parts of the globe, World Parkinson's Day was observed across the country including Lahore on Saturday to raise awareness about the disease, promoting a greater understanding of this condition and how it could affect a person.

Seminars, workshops and free medical camps were arranged at the government and private levels to raise awareness about the disease, handling of affected persons and early treatment. Over four lakh people in Pakistan are suffering from Parkinson while patients across the globe are over six million.

Parkinson's is a disease in which nerve cells that deliver the neurotransmitter dopamine to other cells are reduced in numbers. As cell death spreads to ever larger parts of the brain more centers are affected. This results in an aggravation of motor and non motor disorders. Usually old people fall prey to this disease. However young people can also suffer from it. The muscles and nerves of such patient weaken and his body trembles.

Lahore General Hospital arranged a seminar at a local hotel to mark the day. Advisor to Chief Minister Punjab on Health Kh Salman Rafiq chaired the seminar attended by Principal PGMI/LGH Prof Anjum Habib Vohra, Prof Khalid Mehmood, and Dr Athar Javed, doctors and patients of the disease. Prof Khalid Mahmood gave a lecture on the latest treatment method of Parkinson “Deep Brain Stimulation” which has been recently started at LGh. He said that DPS procedure was available in few countries and in Pakistan it was carried out only at LGH. He said that cost of treatment in US was Rs 20 million, in Singapore Rs 10 million and in Pakistan only Rs 2 million. He said that the treatment of Parkinson was costly and as such there was need of government and philanthropists support. He said that Chief Minister Punjab had provided Rs 2 million for DBS surgery of first Parkinson patient at LGH a few months ago.

Prof Athar Javed sensitized the participants regarding the symptoms, medicinal treatment and preventive measures of Parkinson. He said that Parkinson patients needed moral and socio-economic support of his family and the society.

Prof Anjum Habib Vohra said that a revolution has come into the medical science and now treatment and cure of this disease was possible through surgery and medicine. He said that encouragement of Parkinson patient was crucial along with treatment as willpower could play a vital role in recovery process. He said that although treatment charges through DBS were low in Pakistan as compared to other countries but even then these were not affordable for a common man. Therefore philanthropists and social organizations should come forward to help patients of Parkinson in their treatment, he concluded.

Kh Salman Rafiq assured that Health Department Punjab would provide funds for establishing a complete department of DBS at LGH. He asked Prof Vohra and Prof Khalid Mahmood to present a brief on the project for its approval from the Chief Minister Punjab.