Exclusive interview with Professor Nadeem Qamar — Executive Director, NICVD
Professor Nadeem Qamar has had a 20 year long and enduring journey with National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases, Karachi. Earning an MBBS degree from Liaquat Medical College, Jamshoro. Professor Nadeem Qamar went abroad to complete his residency in Internal Medicine from Franklin Square Hospital, USA and received his fellowships in Cardiology and Angioplasty from McGill University, Canada and Ottawa Heart Institute, Canada respectively. He has trained countless cardiology fellows specializing in Interventional Cardiology and Catheterization Laboratory Techniques, has authored many research papers and is a lifetime member of Pakistan Cardiac Society and Pakistan Hypertension League.
Professor Nadeem Qamar currently is leading the team as Executive Director of National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases (NICVD) and also fulfilling the responsibilities of Secretary to Governing Body.
Pakistan & Gulf Economist had an exclusive conversation with Professor Nadeem Qamar. Excerpts of the conversation are as follows:
No patient at National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases (NICVD) is refused treatment regardless of their financial affordability, caste, religion, ethnicity or any other socioeconomic barrier. With generous help from the Government of Sindh, we are charging Rs. 0 for all cardiac healthcare facilities at NICVD. Generous donations of equipment from our donors have allowed us to reduce waiting time by a significant margin. An ambitious reconstruction and rehabilitation plan to increase the current capacity of the hospital is currently underway.
With support from the Government of Pakistan, USAID and the Japanese Government, NICVD became a functional cardiac-care centre on 14th August, 1971. For the following eight years, NICVD remained a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) but in 1979 it was nationalized by the Government of Pakistan and became an Autonomous Body under the Federal Ministry of Health. The present Governing Body of NICVD comes under the Government of Sindh with the Honorable Chief Minister of Sindh as the Chairman of the Board of Governors. The Executive Director of NICVD maintains the role of Secretary of the Board of Governors and Chief Executive Officer of the Institute and Chairman of the Academic Faculty.
NICVD has established eight Satellite Centers in the Sindh province during last one year. It is one of the state-of-the-art satellite centers in collaboration with the provincial government is situated inside Civil Hospital, Mithi and provides treatment to patients in the desert region free of charge. NICVD in Mithi offers cardiac facilities of international standard and provides high-quality healthcare services in collaboration with the government of Sindh for free.
We thank Sindh government for extending all needed support to the NICVD in its efforts to establish its centers across the province so as to help people acquire needed assistance at their doorsteps. These centers are meant to offer state-of-the-art cardiac services including facilities of heart bypass and other cardiac surgeries.
The Sukkur centre of NICVD inaugurated in February this year is the 300-bed cardiac hospital, where patients are availing outpatient services, echocardiography tests, life-saving intervention, primary PCI, early invasive intervention etc. NICVD is committed to provide quality heart healthcare services to the masses and Sukkur center not only caters the population of Sukkur but also patients from South Punjab and Balochistan.
NICVD’s satellite centers already functional in Larkana, Tando Muhammad Khan, Hyderabad, Sehwan, Nawabshah and Khairpur are providing state-of-the-art cardiac facilities to the patients belonging to mentioned areas and the vicinity. Over 55,000 patients have visited Chest Pain Units since their launch in May 2017 in Karachi
. Five Chest Pain Units are situated under the flyovers at Gulshan Chowrangi, Gulbai, Malir Halt, Qayyumabad Chowrangi, Nagan Chowrangi and one each at a clinic near I. I. Chundrigar Road and at Lyari General Hospital. NICVD has decided to establish 50 more chest units in entire Sindh in the near future.
For over half a century, National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases has tirelessly endeavored to excel in cardiovascular patient-care, training and research. With more than 300 highly qualified surgeons, doctors and trainees, we have provided superior cardiac treatment to more than 500,000 OPD patients, 60,000 in-patients and nearly 200,000 emergency cases in the past year. As a heart patient, one can avail free cardiac treatment as well as physiotherapy and rehabilitation services to also ensure the future well-being of our patients. NICVD launched its initiative of 100% free-of-cost services at all NICVD Centers in July 2017. These services include out-patients, in-patients, procedures, surgeries, diagnostics and medicines, and includes facilities such as Admissions (In-patient), Angiography, Angioplasty, Cardiac Surgery of adult and pediatric patients including Heart Bypass, other Open Heart and Minimally Invasive Surgeries, Coronary Care Unit (CCUs), CT Angiography, ECG, Echocardiography, Emergency Services, Exercise Tolerance Test (ETT), Intensive Care Units (ICUs) for adults and paediatric patients, Laboratory, Life-Saving Device Implantation – Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD) and Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy (CRT P/D Devices), Medicines (In-patient and OPD), Out-patient (General) Services with 8am till 5pm slots, Pacemakers, Temporary (TPM) and Permanent (PPM), Primary PCI (Angioplasty during Heat Attack), using FDA approved BMS (non-medicated) and DES (medicated) Stents, Stress Echocardiography, Transesophageal echocardiography (TEE), Thallium Scan and X-Ray.
The ‘Primary PCI for All’ was initiated at the NICVD in May 2015. Since the launch of the program, the NICVD has become the world’s largest single center for a PCI (Angioplasty during a heart attack). We are using FDA approved stents both DES/medicated and BMS/non-medicated depending on patient’s condition. The Primary PCI services were launched 100% free-of-cost beginning 1st Ramazan of 2017. 17,470 primary angioplasties have been performed under the banner of NICVD at all 9 centers in last 40 months (February 2015 – May 2018), which makes NICVD, the largest Primary PCI Center of the world. This procedure is life-saving for patients in advanced heart failure and ventricular arrhythmias. In May 2017, NICVD initiated free-of-cost treatment with Life Saving Devices (ICD & CRT – P/D). These devices are valued anywhere between Rs 700,000 to Rs 2,250,000.
To date, more than 800 devices have been implanted. We are the first public hospital in Pakistan to perform a successful Transcatheter Aortic Valve Implantation (TAVI). Further we are performing cryoablation, 3D cardiac mapping, minimally invasive heart surgeries, off-pump/beating heart bypass surgeries and high risk surgeries.
NICVD embarked up on a transformational journey with an aggressive new vision of pursuing patient care round-the clock. Emerging from the small Central Heart Clinic in Ward 10 of Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC) in 1956, National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases has been the primary heart-care provider for Pakistanis for over 50 years. 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, education and training for medical professionals, and research and development in cardiology. NICVD caters to the cardiovascular needs of a vast majority of patients from all provinces of Pakistan as well as Afghan refugees and patients from other neighboring countries. It is responsible for training the bulk of local cardiac physicians, nurses and paramedics throughout the country.
NICVD is a Post-Graduate Teaching Institute recognized by the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council of Pakistan (PMDC), College of Physicians and Surgeons Pakistan (CPSP), Karachi University (KU) and Dow University of Health Sciences (DUHS).
We are currently offering various training programs, which help NICVD to generate its own pool of human resource to serve the vision of providing free but quality cardiac healthcare facilities at the doorsteps of patients residing in the remote area of Sindh province. The Post Basic Diploma in Cardiac Nursing is one-year program that provides experiential and educational opportunities for Nurses’ professional grooming and enhances the hospital’s commitment to patient care. Nursing students are welcome to complete a one-month rotation/electives at this institution.
NICVD held its first Certification Ceremony of Interventional Cardiology Fellowship Program in January this year. A total of 13 fellows were awarded certificates for successfully completing post-fellowship training in the sub-specialty of interventional cardiology. Interventional Cardiology fellowship Program focuses at producing skilled doctors, equipped with the highest standards of leadership and management skills as well as ethical practices so that they are able to function as competent and compassionate specialists.
NICVD is one of the leading centers for Post-graduate Training in Adult Cardiology, Paediatric Cardiology, Anaesthesiology, and Cardiac Surgery and Post-fellowship Training in Interventional Cardiology, Electrophysiology and Cardio-thoracic Anaesthesiology.
We also offer Post-graduate Diploma in Cardiology. It is a matter of great pride that 44 fellows cleared FCPS and 43 trainees cleared diploma in Cardiology during 2015-2017. Over half a century, the National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases has tirelessly endeavored to excel in cardiovascular patient-care, training and research. With more than 300 highly qualified surgeons, doctors and trainees, we have provided superior services to our patients requiring emergency care, admission and consultation.
We thank Sindh Government for their endless support. NICVD is taking important initiatives in order to keep up with the advancements by upgrading curricula, enhancing skills, improving teaching practices, fostering research and setting high standards in line with the international benchmarks.