Islamabad, Pakistan

Islamabad, Pakistan
A STOP Thalassemia Project Center

The Problem Being Addressed: Over 60,000 children in Pakistan are suffering from thalassemia major, the most common fatal genetic disease in the world. Because of lack of knowledge or availability of tests in many areas of Pakistan, 5000 children are born with this disease each year. The weekly treatment needed by theses children to stay alive is a huge economic burden on affected families because the cost is often higher than their total income. Consequently, the majority of children do not live longer than adolescence. A second option to life-long supportive care is a cure, through bone marrow transplantation. Its cost is equivalent to a few years of supportive therapy, after which the child begins a normal life.

Project History: In 2008 Cure2Children (C2C) began a partnership with the National Institute for Blood Diseases (NIBD) in Karachi, the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS), and Shifa International Hospital in Islamabad; with the aim of providing financial and professional support for at least six transplants for each Pakistani institution that was willing to work with C2C under our mission objectives and principles, including:

  • Providing family support throughout treatment, pre-treatment, and post-op recovery (usually a span of six months). This support includes a fully subsidized apartment close to the hospital, as well as screening and prevention for all family members to prevent new cases of thalassemia.
  • Offering future transplants at a non-profit rate.

From January 2007 untill December 2010 this project received €400,000 of funding from the Cure2Children Foundation by way of grant from Fondazione Banca Monte Dei Paschi di Siena and donations from Italy. In December 2010, this project was acknowledged by the Pakistani- Italian Government cooperation and received a long-term grant of 85 million PKR (approx. €700,000) for the “Cure and Prevention of Thalassemia Major project”, under the Pakistani Italian Debt-for-development Swap Agreement (PIDSA) program. As of August 2017 over 1400 families have been registered and offered free screening in addition to over 2000 extended family members; and a total of 150 children have undergone transplantation with results comparable to those obtainable in affluent countries but at a per-procedure-cost about ten times lower. Local staff has now the capacity to offer a more afordable cure. A family support program has guaranteed safe and adequate living conditions and an adherence to prescribed follow up visits and treatments.

Major Achievements:

  • A three-bed BMT unit at the Children's Hospital of the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) - Islamabad, the first one in a government hospital in Pakistan.
  • Bone marrow transplant of 150 children with results comparable to affluent countries but at 1/10 of the cost.
  • Preventive screening and counseling of over 2000 extended family members of Thalassemia major children.
  • Effective Family support program for patient undergoing BMT.
  • Local staff has now the capacity to perform BMT and the unit was handed over to PIMS in 2016.
  • Several scientific publications on international peer-reviewed journals, see Publications

Next steps:
C2C has now transferred his offices to Dr. Akbar Niazi Teaching Hospital (ANTH) a 500 bedded hospital, owned by Islamabad Medical & Dental College which is affiliated with Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto Medical University where a new 5-bed BMT facility is about to be completed. Transplant will be perfomed on a non-profit basis and in compliance with international quality standards.  

Project manager:

  • Dr Sadaf Khalid - Cure2Children Pakistan branch coordinator

Team:

  • Prof Khalid Hassan - Senior Consultant Hematologist and Program Co-Director
  • Dr Lawrence Faulkner - Bone Marrow Transplant specialist and Program Co-Director
  • Dr Naghmi Asif - Consultant Hematologist
  • Dr Alya Batool - Consultant Hematologist
  • Dr Sarah Khan Gilani - Consultant BMT and Pediatrics
  • Dr Sadaf Khalid - Cure2Children Pakistan branch coordinator and project manager
  • Azra Shaheen - Nursing coordinator
  • Fauzia Tabassum - Office coordinator
  • Fazia Shoukat - Family support and HLA typing coordinator 

Partners:

Donation Information Cure2Children is a registered non-governmental organization, n. 4(2) EAINGO/2009 in Pakistan. Our National Tax number is 3394218-8. You can donate directly to this project by sending a wire transfer to: Account Name: Cure2children Foundation Bank Name: Habib Bank Ltd. Branch Address : Habib Bank, jinnah avenue, Islamabad Swift Code: HABBPKKA007 Account #: 22067900408601

Contact information:
Fauzia Tabassum (Cure2Children Foundation)
Dr Akbar Niazi Teaching Hospital, adjacent to Islamabad Medical & Dental College(IMDC), Wadi-ul-IIm Main Murree Road, Satra Mile, Bahrakahu. Islamabad, 45400 Pakistan.
Phone: +92-3353222048
fauzia.tabassum@cure2children.org
info@cure2children.org

Updated 3 October 2017