LAHORE - Adviser to Punjab Chief Minister on Health Kh Salman Rafiq has said that bone marrow transplantation would start at Children’s Hospital within one year.

Addressing a symposium on Thalassemia at Children’ Hospital on Wednesday, he said that the government had provided special grant of Rs200 million for the project.

Dean Institute of Child Health and Children’s Hospital Prof Masood Sadiq, Medical Director Prof Ahsan Waheed Rathore, Head of Hematology Department Prof Nisar, Project Director Punjab Thalassemia Prevention Programme Prof Shamsa Hamayun, Prof Javeria Mannan, doctors, nurses and a number of thalassemia patients and their parents attended the symposium.

Kh Salman Rafiq informed that Blood Transfusion Authority (BTA) had been made functional after 15 years and the registration/inspection of blood banks has been started to eliminate the business of substandard and unscreened blood.

“Necessary amendments have been proposed in the BTA law to enhance sentence and fine for running substandard blood banks. This crime will be made a non-bailable offence.

Draft law has been prepared with the consultation of concerned departments and collaboration of German Institute GIZ.

This amended law bill will be presented in Punjab Assembly for legislation,” he added.

Prof Masood Sadiq said that free treatment was being provided to 700 registered thalassemia patients. He said that hematology and oncology ward of the hospital has 60 beds while 100 patients were admitted in the ward.

He stressed the need for setting up more children hospitals in the country. He lauded the chief minister for providing additional fellowship seats in hematology and oncology department and said that eight doctors were doing their second fellowship in this field.

Prof Shamsa Hamayun informed that every year 5000 children are born in Pakistan with thalassemia and a rough estimate of patients is over 50000.

Prof Ahsan Waheed Rathore said that doctors and parents faced many difficulties in the treatment and handling of thalassemia children therefore, a close liaison between parents and the clinicians was essential.

Prof Nisar said that volunteer blood donors culture did not exist in Pakistan therefore, doctors, parents and thalassemia children were facing many difficulties.