8 kids test HIV+ after blood transfusion

July 14, 2010

Courtesy: ibnlive.in.com

Jaipur: Eight children suffering from thalassemia were found to be HIV positive and 43 children were infected with Hepatitis C after the blood transfusion in Jodhpur.

A probe by the Thalassemia Society has revealed that 51 patients got infected during blood transfusion at the Ummed Hospital in Jodhpur. The glaring negligence was found after the Thalassemia society conducted lab tests on these children.

“The blood that is being transfused into the children may contain HIV strains. This is why when the blood tests were conducted on December 28, 2008, only five cases of HIV positive and 29 cases of Hepatitis Cwere identified among the kids. When the tests were conducted again in May by the SN Medical College, numbers increased from five to eight HIV positive cases and from 28 to 46 Hepatitis C cases, ” said Secretary Vipin Gupta.

“The thalassemia patient is dependent on blood transfusion. The danger of the wrong blood entering the body is always there. But what can we do?”, said a local resident.

Hospital authorities blame lack of critical medical facilities to detect impure strains in blood for the fatal error.

Virgin Health Bank signed an agreement with Al Ahli Hospital

February 21, 2010

Courtesy by: albawaba.com

Al-Ahli Hospital and Virgin Health Bank QSTP have signed an agreement creating a partnership that will assist in the development of cord blood stem cell banking in Qatar. Their collaboration will give guests of the hospital the opportunity to store the umbilical cord blood stem cells of their newborn babies.

The programme that has been developed ensures that guests who are going to have their babies at Al-Ahli Hospital are informed about cord blood banking and can benefit from VHB QSTP’s services through their maternity care. This partnership was announced in a press conference hosted by representatives from both Al-Ahli Hospital and VHB QSTP.

VHB QSTP was established to help realise the benefits of stem cell therapies for the people of Qatar and the wider Gulf region and they began offering their cord blood banking services to Qatar’s families in late 2009.

They have already completed a week long training programme for the obstetrics and midwifery teams at Al-Ahli in support of this initiative.

Mr. Abdulwahed Al-Mawlawi, the Managing Director and CEO of Medicare Group and Al-Ahli Hospital said “Al-Ahli Hospital has undertaken this partnership to assist in its development in Qatar by making it available to our honourable Guests. Teams from Al-Ahli and Virgin Health Bank have worked closely together for a number of months to assure that this service is delivered in a proficient manner.”

Dr. Rajan Jethwa, the CEO of VHB QSTP said, “Virgin Health Bank’s new partnership with Al-Ahli Hospital is a significant and exciting development for cord blood banking in Qatar and the Gulf region. Together we’ll educate families about this area of medicine and provide a high quality ethical service.”

Al-Ahli Hospital’s maternity unit is the largest among the private healthcare providers in Qatar. Having been in operation for over than three years, their maternal morbidity and mortality rates are much lower than the internationally-accepted figures. Their western-qualified and highly experienced team of consultants and specialists led by Clinical Director, Dr. Zeenat Rizvi, perform an average of six deliveries per day.

Dr. Rizvi said, “Cord blood stem cell banking provides families with the opportunity to store the stem cells of their newborn babies. These cells may be used to treat the child, or provided there is a tissue match, another member of their family.”

“Developments in this area of medicine are progressing rapidly; today cord blood stem cells are used to treat blood cancers including leukaemia’s and blood disorders such as thalassemia and sickle cell anaemia. In the future they are expected to become the basis for advances in the field of regenerative medicine. Through this partnership, we can provide our guests with ethically-compliant cord blood banking and this falls in line with our objective of providing leading edge obstetric care.”

Stem cells are obtained from cord blood collected just after a baby is born and the umbilical cord has been clamped and cut. It is a straightforward and safe procedure that has no impact on the mother or her newly born child. After collection, the cord blood is transferred to Virgin Health Bank’s Human Tissue Authority licensed processing centre in the UK, where it undergoes tests to determine its viability and the number of cells are counted before it is cryogenically preserved at -190C.

Dr Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, the eminent Islamic scholar, has approved of the cord blood banking process and has declared that it conforms to Shari’a law. Dr Al-Qaradawi is Chairman of the International Union for Muslim Scholars, a member of the Islamic Fiqh Council and the senior Islamic Jurist.

In 2009 Qatar Foundation and VHB QSTP signed a partnership that has seen VHB QSTP relocate its international headquarters to QSTP where it’s building an advanced processing and cryogenic storage facility that will be operational before the end of 2010.

The new cord blood banking service has commenced at Al-Ahli Hospital and guests are now able to get more information about it by contacting its Obstetrics and Gynaecology Department. The service costs families a one off payment of QR 12,950, paid to Virgin Health Bank, which includes the collection kit, the processing of the cord blood, all the necessary tests and 20 years of storage.

21 More Rare Diseases Get Free Coverage

January 10, 2010

Courtesy by: koreatimes.co.kr

The government is set to expand its support for patients suffering from rare diseases, the Ministry for Health, Welfare and Family Affairs announced Monday.

The ministry said 21 more diseases will be added to its list of those covered by free medical care.

Beneficiaries will be patients whose family’s income is less than 4 million won per month, with their assets amounting to less than 200 million won.

One such affliction is thalassemia, an autosomal recessive blood disease that results in severe cases of anemia.

The patients usually need to receive blood transfusions and iron chelation therapy among other treatments, which can sometimes be risky, experts say.

The disease most often inflicts people in the Mediterranean region and parts of northern Africa, but in Korea, their number is estimated to be around a few hundred.

Other rare diseases included on the list are Kufs’ Disease, Nieman-Pick Disease and Krabbe Disease.

The Korea Center for Disease Control and Prevention said the new coverage will benefit some 7,000 people.

Currently, the National Health Insurance Corp. supports 28,900 patients suffering from 111 rare and hard-to-treat diseases.

“The government will cover not only expenses for treatment but provide them with pieces of medical equipment that are essential for walking, breathing and other aids to help them conduct their daily activities. Those with muscle disorders will also receive care by visiting nurses free of charge,” center official Ku Soo-kyeong said.

More information about rare diseases and governmental support for them is available at http://helpline.cdc.go.kr.

Majid bin Mohammed launches latest Thalassemia website

November 8, 2009

Courtesy by: ameinfo.com

His Highness Sheikh Majid bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Culture and Arts Authority, today launched a completely dedicated Thalassemia website at the Thalassemia Center of the Dubai Health Authority.

His Highness praised the efforts of the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) and its commitment to provide internationally recognized levels of care in chronic disease management. During his visit to the Thalassemia Center, he also visited the Dubai Cord Blood and Research Center and the Joslin Diabetes Center.

The team at Dubai’s only dedicated Thalassemia Center in Al Wasl Hospital has designed the site with separate areas for the public and healthcare professionals, in Arabic and English, to help boost education of the disease, and improve communication between itself and the center’s users.

His Excellency Qadhi Saeed Al Murooshid, Director General of the Dubai Health Authority, said:

“The DHA is dedicated to ensure that we reduce the prevalence of Thalassemia in our society and we have given high-priority to measures such as pre-marital testing. While we have implemented healthcare policies to tackle this disease, we realize that it is important to reach out to the public and provide them with up-to-date information on facts, diagnosis and treatment options. Moreover, we want the public and healthcare providers to have a forum to interact with each other, and this website provides such an opportunity.”

Al Murooshid added, “The DHA is keen on providing such easily accessible interactive forums which have information on disease and disease management, as this is crucial to further develop our patient communication systems.”

The website allows users to interact with each other, and to leave comments and suggestions for the center’s staff.

“What we want to do is match the ideal international chronic care module released by WHO, and a website containing accurate up-to-date information on the disease for patients, the public and healthcare professionals, is part of that,” said Dr. Khawla Belhoul, Director of the Thalassemia Center.

Dr. Belhoul added, “The education of patients is a key part of chronic disease management, and the website offers an easily accessible and comprehensive way of doing this. We want to encourage people to use the site to gather information, ask questions, leave comments, and take part in forums where they can discuss issues with other sufferers.”

“Healthcare professionals will benefit from having a localised resource containing international standard information, they can also email us for expert advice,” she said.

The website will add to the center’s already well established patient communication system that uses SMS to alert its patients to treatment changes, appointments, and the center’s activities.

One in 12 people in the UAE carry the gene for thalassemia, a blood disorder that reduces the number of normal blood cells in the body, according to figures collated by the DHA.

If two carriers have children, the likelihood of each child developing the disease is 25%. The lack of red blood cells prevents the normal flow of oxygen around the body, which presents with similar symptoms to anemia.

Around 40% of the patients at the Thalassemia Center are Emiratis, another 40% are expatriates from Asia and Africa, while 20% are other Arab nationals.

The Dubai Health Authority celebrates quality week

October 30, 2009

Courtesy by: ameinfo.com

The DHA will celebrate healthcare quality week from the 1st to the 4th of November, 2009. All DHA hospitals and speciality centres will take part in this event.

Dr Mohammad Al Olama, CEO of the Hospital Services Sector initiated this celebration to promote the importance of achieving improved patient care outcomes and healthcare delivery systems. This year’s theme is, “Patient Safety, Our Priority”

Al Wasl, Dubai Hospital, Rashid Hospital, DHA Airport clinic, the Thalassemia centre and the Harvard-affiliated Joslin Diabetes Centre will take part in this event.

On the 4th of November, the DHA will hold a seminar as well as conduct other awareness activities at the Rashid Medical Library Auditorium to discuss this year’s theme- “Patient Safety, Our Priority.”

Mandatory pre-marital blood test

October 23, 2009

Courtesy: thenews.com.pk

The Sindh Assembly unanimously passed a resolution on Wednesday, urging the government to make tests for Thalassemia, HIV and other diseases “mandatory” for couples before marriage.

Two other resolution were also passed; the first sought restoration of the “Guzara allowance” for the needy, while the second recommended adopting a uniform and integrated admission policy in academic institutes to promote harmony in the province.

A resolution moved by Prisons Minister Muzaffar Shujra recommended that the Sindh government make blood tests for Thalassemia, HIV, Hepatitis and other diseases mandatory for couples before marriage. It also called for launching a comprehensive campaign to create awareness about genetically-transmitted diseases.

Health Minister Dr Sagheer Ahmed said that there was a need to reserve funds for launching this campaign and to establish centres for such blood tests. Information Minister Shazia Marri said that several diseases could be prevented through blood tests.

Another resolution, jointly moved by Law Minister Ayaz Soomro, and Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) parliamentary leader Syed Sardar Ahmed, urged the Sindh government to approach federal government to restore the “Guzara allowance” for the needy to provide them with immediate relief in the form of monthly financial assistance. This allowance is to be paid from Zakat funds.

Meanwhile, Speaker Nisar Ahmed Khuhro drew the attention of the law minister to the absence of several ministers in the House.

The Assembly also unanimously passed a resolution which was moved by Dr Sikandar Mandhro. It urged the Sindh government to adopt a “uniform and integrated admission policy” in academic institutes located in major urban centres, in order to provide equal opportunity to students of rural areas. The resolution also sought to set up campuses in rural areas of high quality urban academic institutes.

Dr Mandhro said that quality education was only being provided in big cities such as Karachi, Hyderabad and Sukkur, even though talent was available everywhere. He said that people from rural areas have feelings of “injustice” arising out of lack of an integrated admission policy.

There are many fissures in the national canvas, he said. Dr Mandhro also lamented the failure to develop national unity despite the passage of 60 years. “We have to provide equal opportunity to every talented person,” he said, adding that it was mandatory for each university to set up its campus in rural areas, but this law was not being implemented.

He asked why NED University and the University of Karachi were not setting up campuses in rural areas, like the Sindh University and Mehran University.

Law Minister Ayaz Soomro said that the Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Institute of Science and Technology (SZABIST) had set up four campuses in various cities. He disclosed that the government was considering a new law to cancel the registration of private schools which do not teach the Sindhi language.

Dr Sagheer Ahmed said that they had reserved 45 medical seats in Karachi for students from rural areas. Similarly, 20 seats for urban students have been reserved in other medical colleges.

A fourth resolution was also passed unanimously, renaming Taluka Daulatpur in Qazi Ahmed as the Taluka Qazi Ahmed.

Opposition leader Jam Madad said that this was good resolution which should be implemented. Later, the Speaker read out the Sindh governor’s notification, proroguing the session of Sindh Assembly.

6,000 NWFP contract employees regularised

October 23, 2009

Courtesy: nation.com.pk

PESHAWAR – The NWFP Assembly on Thursday passed a law regularizing all the contract and ad hoc employees which will benefit around 6,000 employees in various departments presently working on contract and ad hoc basis in the whole province.

NWFP Senior Minister Bashir Ahmed Bilour presented the NWFP Employees (Regularization of Services) Bill, 2009 on the floor of the house and after heated discussion it was passed.

It is worth mentioning here that NWFP Governor had regularized the contract and ad hoc employees through an ordinance sometime in September 2009. That ordinance was made an act with amendments moved by the opposition lawmakers. 

The mover informed his colleagues that it would benefit around 6,000 employees presently working in various departments on contract and ad hoc basis. He said that previous governments had appointed these contact and ad hoc employees. “We also amended the bill so the seniority of permanent employees and those qualifying the Public Service Commission (PSC) could not be affected”. 

The NWFP Assembly also passed a bill making mandatory for the would-be couple to conduct Thalassemia and Hepatitis C test before solemnizing the marriage. The bill named the North-West Frontier Province Preventive Health Bill, 2009, was tabled by ANP MPA Saqibullah Chamkani which was passed with amendments moved by JUI (F) MPA Mufti Kifayatullah. 

In order to take preventive health measures in the province, every marriage in the province before solemnizing would fulfil the preventive health measures that are Thalassemia and Hepatitis C tests. 

According to the new law, the result of the tests (whatever it might be) would have no effect on the marriage being solemnized. Before solemnizing, the Nikah Registrar would obtain test reports of premarital screening of spouses, it added. The Nikah Registrar would also keep and maintain the reports for at least two years from the date the marriage was solemnized. 

Meanwhile, during the question-answer session, the lawmakers underlined the shortage of police force and fewer facilities. Keeping in view the worsening law and order situation, they were of the view that police should be strengthened to face the insurgency in NWFP. 

The legislators hailing from the far-off areas demanded of the government to ensure the availability of medicines in public sector hospitals. Later the speaker adjourned the session for Monday.

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