LAHORE: Dr Neelam Mohan, the head of a 12-member health care delegation from India, sees vast room for cooperation in the health sector between the two countries.
Talking to The News, she said that purpose of this visit under Aman Ki Asha was to promote bilateral relations between the two countries. "We have common health problems as we have common genes" she said, adding that the research and development for the cures of these ailments would be almost same. The cooperation in health between the two countries would promote immense goodwill between the people of both countries, she added.
She said that India had made great strides in the health sector and patients from the most developed countries visited India for treatment. She said: iWe have treated many Pakistani children suffering from various diseases, like heart and liver malfunction.i
Dr Neelam Mohan said that besides heart surgery, India had emerged as a leading country in the area of liver transplant. She said that she worked in an institute that performed 300 liver transplants a year - the highest anywhere in the world by any hospital. While she was talking with this scribe, a young Pakistani couple came to consult her about the problem of their 15-month-old child.
She asked the parents to furnish her certain reports after which she would advise them about a possibility of treatment in India. She said that liver transplant was risk free for the donor. She explained that a human being used only 40 per cent of its liver. If a donor like the mother of the child donated a small portion of her liver, the child would benefit immediately as liver cells regenerated quickly both in the patient and the donor.
She said that communicable diseases were on the decline in India and Pakistan. She said that they had declined from 70 per cent to 35 per cent in India. She, however, said that non-communicable diseases, like heart problems, diabetes and liver diseases, were on the rise in both countries. The treatment of these ailments was expensive, she added. "Doctors on both sides of the border should work together to bring down the cost," she said.
It is pertinent to mention that cooperation between the two countries in the health sector has been on the rise for the past several years. The improvement in relations is also being facilitated under Aman ki Asha initiative, reaping dividends of friendly ties between the two nations.
Owing to relatively efficient health system, affordable treatment cost and advancement in the field of medicines, India has emerged as one of the favourite destinations for advanced surgery. Besides other factors, many Pakistanis prefer traveling to India for treatment as there is no language barrier in addition to similar eating and living habits.
Despite a relatively tight visa regime, the number of patients going from Pakistan to India is on the rise. According to a report, the Indian High Commission in Islamabad issued 1,992 medical visas to Pakistani citizens during 2008-2010. In addition, 2,917 visas were issued to medical attendants during the same period.
Most Pakistani patients are visiting India for medical treatment like liver transplant, open heart surgery and kidney transplant with the motive to avail low-cost healthcare treatment. Some Indian hospitals have provided medical treatment to Pakistanis at a large scale. By November 2011, as many as 200 Pakistani patients underwent liver transplant in a Delhi hospital alone.
Moreover, in February 2012, a group of Indian and Pakistani doctors have made history by jointly performing a complicated liver transplant procedure in a Lahore hospital for the first time. Such mutual cooperation can be enhanced further with liberalising visa regime for the maximum mutual benefit.
Monday, May 07, 2012
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