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Cardiovascular healthcare in Sindh ‘free of cost’

Patients with heart disease may get treatment free of cost with superior care in Pakistan. One under-treatment patient, at National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases (NICVD) Larkana, belonging to Shahdadkot revealed to PAKISTAN & GULF ECONOMIST (PAGE) that she was brought by her family members in emergency at 4am (in the morning). Once they reached, she was admitted and given proper treatment by the doctors. According to her, it is unprecedented that heart patients are being treated with great care and professionalism without any charges and without any source for the treatment. Even the medicine during the treatment is provided by NICVD. Another elderly lady patient from Jacobabad being treated at NICVD Larkana was all praise for the doctors and staff and told us that the people of the locality are extremely fortunate to have such quality healthcare at their doorstep free of cost.

PAGE witnessed state-of-the-art angiography machine at NICVD Larkana. Two doctors from Karachi on rotation duty at NICVD Larkana briefed PAGE about the procedures and the patients. The doctors told that all patients whether from rich or poor families are treated alike without any distinction since all the medical facilities for all patients are free of cost. Majority of the patients are from poor families and belong to villages. Prior to the satellite centre of NICVD in Larkana, the patients were treated with medicine and were referred to Karachi for angioplasty and angiography. However, angioplasty, angiography and life-saving procedures are being performed now at NICVD Larkana since April 2017. New building of NICVD Larkana with complete cardiac set-up would be ready in a couple of months.

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Until a year ago, patients with heart disease from all over Sindh particularly used to go to Karachi, the largest city of Sindh, for treatment which was not viable for so many patients due to financial constraints. Many poor families used to sell their cattle in order to go to Karachi for treatment. However, it is altogether a different story now. Right from admission, angioplasty, angiography, medication etc. is free of cost for all patients at NICVD. Even after the procedures, when the patients visit NICVD for follow-ups, medicine is provided free of cost. PAGE talked to the experienced doctors and staff including qualified registered nurses at NICVD Larkana, Tando Muhammad Khan and Hyderabad.

Since its inception in 1963, the National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases (NICVD) has played a pivotal role in caring for patients with heart disease in Pakistan. NICVD is the first tertiary cardiac care institute in South Asia as well as the flagship facility for cardiology in Pakistan with a focus on superior care for patients.

Under the leadership of Professor Dr Nadeem Qamar, Executive Director NICVD, a great change, improvement and expansion have been witnessed for the benefit of all patients from across Pakistan. With more than 100 highly qualified surgeons, doctors and trainees, NICVD has provided superior cardiac treatment to lots of patients from across the country. NICVD embarked upon a transformational journey around a couple of years ago with an aggressive new vision of pursuing patient care round-the-clock. Hence the cardiac surgery unit has been able to double the number of surgeries. With generous help from the Government of Sindh, paediatric surgeries are free of cost for every patient. Through donations and Zakat fund, the Social Welfare Department of NICVD provides financial assistance to non-affording patients. Hundreds of thousands of patients have been treated through Zakat and donations for various procedures.

 

Mr Javed, an advocate, from Hyderabad is getting treated at NICVD Hyderabad. He was all praise for the staff, doctors etc. of NICVD. According to him, due the cardiac treatment facility at Hyderabad now, they do not have to go to Karachi. A wife of a landlord from Sanghar while getting treatment at NICVD Hyderabad told PAGE that all treatment is free of cost irrespective of the status of the patients and the poor as well as the rich are being treated alike. All staff is well-trained and well-equipped.

PAGE had interaction with some resident doctors from Karachi who were on duty at NICVD Hyderabad. One doctor told us that 146 primary angioplasty were conducted last month at NICVD Hyderabad. Patients come from Tando Allahyar, Matiari, Haalaa, Bhit Shah etc. Both educated and illiterate people from cities and villages are also getting treatment since awareness about the treatment is spreading rapidly.

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At NICVD Tando Muhammad Khan, patients from Badin, Thatta, Mirpur Khaas, Mithi, Sehwan, Sanghar, Dadu etc. were seen getting treatment. Heart disease is not restricted to age. Even very young people are suffering from cardiac problems. PAGE was briefed that angioplasty of 22-year, 26-year and 28-year patients was conducted at NICVD Tando Muhammad Khan. However majority of patients are above 40 years of age. We also witnessed OPD for children. Some staff members told us that they were trained for 03 months at Karachi before being sent to Tando Muhammad Khan.

60-year old poor Chingchi rickshaw driver Mr Sohrab Leghari from Tando Muhammad Khan told PAGE that he could not believe that such expensive treatment within his city could be provided free of cost with quality care. It is like a dream come true.

50-year old poor labourer Mr Karam Shah from Pano Aaqil, 72-year old Nathoo Raam from Hyderabad, a young laborer from Kandiaree Sanghar, a lady patient from Meerwah from a well-to-do family and a Manghwaar Hindu lady from Mirpur Khaas expressed their satisfaction regarding the treatment at NICVD Tando Muhammad Khan.

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NICVD satellite centers in Larkana, Tando Muhammad Khan and Hyderabad, established last year, have been busy in providing state-of-the-art cardiac facilities to the heart patients. NICVD has established its fourth satellite centre in collaboration with the Government of Sindh at Sehwan Sharif. This NICVD center has been providing major cardiac facilities especially Interventional Cardiology to the people of Sindh at their doorstep. NICVD is opening four more such centers in Sukkur, Nawabshah, Khairpur and Mithi, which will be operational this year. NICVD and the Government of Sindh are striving to serve the people collectively.

NICVD is one of the largest and most comprehensive cardiac care hospitals of Pakistan. It offers innovative and advanced care to patients suffering from cardiovascular disease. It is led by world-class cardiologists and cardiovascular surgeons. Trained physicians, nurses and technologists provide high quality care and effective treatment to patients with heart and vascular diseases. NICVD has been providing healthcare facilities for the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of patients with cardiovascular diseases. Patients come from around the country even from abroad and they all are treated free of cost.

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