KARACHI  -   Sindh Provincial Minister for Health and Population Welfare Dr Azra Fazal Pechuho on Friday said that diabetes had acquired an epidemic proportion in Pakistan and in other Asian countries, effecting millions of people.

The Sindh government has introduced a new bill ‘Sindh Injured Persons’ Compulsory Medical Treatment in the provincial assembly to offer medical assistance and treatment to any injured person before completion of ‘medico-legal formalities’, she said.

Dr Panjwani Center for Molecular Medicine and Drug Research has initiated a major research program in the field of anti-diabetic drug discovery and development, she stated.

She was speaking at the inaugural ceremony of the 9th ANRAP (Asian Network of Research on Anti-Diabetic Plants) International Seminar on “From Plant to Patient: Identification of New Drugs for Metabolic Disorders” held at the International Center for Chemical and Biological Sciences (ICCBS) University of Karachi (UoK) on Friday.

Dr Panjwani Center for Molecular Medicine and Drug Research (PCMD), UoK organised the global science moot in which around 350 national and foreign experts are participating.

The opening ceremony was also addressed and attended by Deputy-High Commissioner Bangladesh, Karachi, Noor-e Helal Saifur Rahman, ANRAP Chairman Prof Dr Mohammad Mosihuzzaman, University of Karachi Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Muhammad Ajmal Khan, ICCBS Director Prof Dr Muhammad Iqbal Choudhary, Chinese scholar Prof Dr Wei Wang, Prof Dr Barry Noller from Australia, Dr Imtiaz Bashir of Dr Panjwani Memorial Trust, Dr Asmat Salim and Dr Hafizur Rahman.

The lady health minister said that the country’s health care system would not able to handle this global epidemic of diabetes. It is important that we not only focus our efforts on the prevention of diabetes, but also develop science based natural remedies which can help suffering population, she maintained.

“I am delighted to learn that Dr Panjwani Center for Molecular Medicine and Drug Research at the ICCBS has initiated a major research program in this field, and many research groups are working on various aspects of anti-diabetic drug discovery and development,” she said.

She said that her ministry was working closely with the Prof. Iqbal Choudhary and his team of the ICCBS towards the establishment of a new center for regenerative medicine, which will help in translating the existing stem cell research into clinical applications. She stated that her ministry was committing a sizable grant component for this new center. This first ever regenerative medicine center in Pakistan will have a large GMP facility for the large-scale production of stem cells for the treatment of burn patients, she added.

This gathering of Asian Network of Research on Anti-Diabetic Plants in Pakistan represents growing interest and commitment of Pakistani society towards the science and technology, she observed.

Diabetes was affecting millions of people not only in Pakistan but also in other Asian countries, she said and added that increasing number of patients, and no breakthrough in the treatment of diabetes, demands our urgent attention.

Prof Dr Muhammad Ajmal Khan, welcoming all the international delegates to the University, said that this Asian science network would definitely foster further international collaborations in the field of science and technology. He congratulated Prof Iqbal Choudhary for organising such a useful ANRAP seminar in Pakistan.

Prof Iqbal Choudhary said that this Asian network deserved great applause for getting Pakistani and Indian scientists on one page. He said that major objective of this conference was to raise awareness on the development and frontier research towards paving the way forward in the fight against metabolic disorders, and other related disease

He appreciated the presence of scholars from China, and said that China was continuing helping us in term of setting up new centers for science and research in Pakistan. He said that International Center for Chemical and Biological Sciences was relentlessly striving to upgrade its capacity and human resources for frontier research and graduate training in chemical and biomedical sciences.  This center is an excellent example of strong commitment of our scientists and researchers towards the science and technology development in Pakistan, he added.

Prof Dr Mohammad Mosihuzzaman said that ANRAP was setup with the aim of coordinating research efforts in the field of anti-diabetic plant material with enormous floral resources of the Asian subcontinent. This year Pakistan organizes ANRAP international seminar, while the previous seminar of that kind was held in Malaysia in 2015, he mentioned.

Deputy-High Commissioner Bangladesh, Karachi, Noor-e Helal Saifur Rahman also spoke on the occasion.