A team of specialists give hope to thousands of poverty-stricken heart patients in the province In a rare development in the field of medical science in Balochistan, new cardiac surgery facilities raise hope for balochistan, A team of doctors at Sandeman Provincial Hospital (Civil Hospital) Quetta have carried out two successful open-heart surgeries. The poverty-stricken people of Balochistan term this welcome news for the least well-off people to have this facility within the provincial capital.


This milestone achievement is not only a great success for the doctors at the hospital, often working in very trying circumstances with inadequate facilities and paramedical staff but also a great relief for hundreds of thousands of cardiac patients in the province Hitherto, cardiac patients had to travel to Karachi, Lahore and other cities for heart bypass surgery costing millions of rupees over and above other costs for traveling, accommodation, and subsistence. “We took our father to Rawalpindi, Karachi, Sukhur and other cities for cardiac treatment and spent hundreds of thousands of rupees in terms of travelling, accommodation and other related expenses but yet the cardiac problem was getting complicated,” said an under treatment cardiac patient son from district Noshki. “After bypass surgery, I’m glad my father is recovering now,” the son said.

Cardiac Surgeon Dr Asmatullah Achakzai, a member of the first team who operated open-heart surgery, said, “The patients we operated here had travelled to many cities for treatment purposes, spending an estimated Rs350,000 each in terms of travelling and accommodations and other related charges.” “Few days ago when one of the two recovered patients visited the hospital, his condition was complicated and we recommended him for a bypass surgery. When he came to know that the hospital has a bypass facility, he wasn’t ready to go home back, was insisting to admit him and conduct surgery as soon as possible,” Dr Achakzai recalled. The patients had spent hundreds of thousands of rupees on visiting Karachi and Lahore and other cities for treatment, the cardiac surgeon informed.

This development has been a milestone achievement in the medical history of Balochistan at the provincial level. In this regard, Naseerullah Khan, a local resident, said, “We are proud of the team of doctors who made this possible for the poverty-stricken people of the province to get free of cost quality treatment within their province.” This development could be made possible with the special interest shown by a team of dedicated doctors, hospital management, and provincial health authorities, according to the statement issued by the hospital management after conducting two successful open-heart surgeries. The team of doctors, led by Dr Arif ur Rehman Dr Syed Dawood Shah, Dr Aftab Ahmed Khatri, Dr Asghar Ahmed, cardiac surgeons Dr Asmat Achakzai, Dr Abdul Wasay, Dr Aqeel and others took part in the operations. Sandeman Provincial Hospital MS Dr Amin Khan termed the development a rightly described success, adding that this achievement is a result of joint effort by medical and para-medical staff, pharmacists, perfumers and other relevant personnel.

Dr Amin Khan further said the sustainability of the cardiac facility depends on the availability of resources now as we have acquired a trained and trained doctors teams at the hospital now, adding that the hospital has a number of challenges including acute shortage of nursing staff and other resources. Dr Amin expressed fear that lack of financial resources and shortage of nursing staff can damage this noble cause if not addressed in time. He went on to explain that the cost of disposables per patient is estimated at Rs130,000 adding that, “We need continuous assistance from the government as well as donors and administrative autonomy.” According to Cardiac Surgeon Dr Abdul Wasay, “Our province was lacking in the field of cardiac surgery, when I was doing my house job after MBBS we were sending lots of patients to Karachi and other cities for open heart surgeries, and many of them died in our hands because they couldn’t afford to make it possible. This gave me a push to go and achieve specialisation and excellence in this field to serve our people back in my hometown.”

Dr Asmat Achakzai added, “A bypass package has different rates ranging between Rs500,000 to Rs800,000 in different hospitals. We are here providing state-of-the-art treatment free of cost in this hospital.” The cardiac surgeon said that the disposables used during operations are expensive and are to be afforded by patients. “If we can have financial support and a regular supply of disposables and other logistics our 90 percent patients requiring heart surgeries will be treated in home town with best care and at least equal to if not more than sister provinces,” he said. “We are hopeful that the government will continue provision of resources to continue this process free of cost to the poverty-stricken people of Balochistan,” Dr Wasay expressed hope.

“Earlier, we were short of trained staff, anaesthesia doctors and surgeons. Since we returned after completing specialisation, we made a team of dedicated doctors, who took them to NICVD Karachi for training and after that such open-heart surgeries could be possible,” Dr Asmat added. Initially, we were provided resources for three patients’ surgeries, which we had done, he said. Dr Abdul Wasay said, “We have a well-trained team of doctors but it would not be sufficient to provide treatment to a large number of cardiac patients in Balochistan. Thousands of people are forced to travel to Karachi, Lahore and other cities for treatments.” Currently, the hospital has a list of 72 patients for open heart surgery, who will be operated in the coming days. However, the hospital still needs a mass level awareness campaign to inform people about the state-of-the-art facility as people who don’t know about this facility are still travelling to other cities for treatment.

“For the initial start of the program we have basic requirements to continue open heart surgeries but to entertain the large volume of patients that we have in our province and to operate complicated operations we need much more support from officials to make it possible for the poor masses of Balochistan,” added Dr Abdul Wasay. cardiac surgery the Balochistan Secretary health Saleh Muhammad Khan said the health department will try its best to manage resources to continue the heart operations in the hospital and in this regard the department has not only allocated special funds of Rs 30 million but is in talks with donors in order to increase further resources. Terming it a milestone achievement in the history of Balochistan health sector, he said the team of medical staff will also be honoured as well as cash prizes and this regard named list has been dispatched.

He said so far seven open heart surgeries have been conducted at the Civil Hospital Quetta and the process is continuous, adding that a single case needs almost Rs400,000 investment and Rs200,000 are kept in savings for any post-surgery complications so that the patient’s life could be ensured. Secretary Saleh further said the government has decided to allocate an estimated Rs46 billion for the health sector in terms of development and non-development budget, out of which Rs30 million will be allocated for Civil Hospital’s cardiac units. Regarding the initiative, he said that a group of qualified doctors who have completed their specialisation from NIVD Karachi arrived in his office and asked for finance to start open-heart surgery and shared details of an estimated amount and requirements for surgery, which was provided to them within a few days.

Source: This news is originally published by tribune