PESHAWAR: The Hayatabad Medical Complex has started makeshift OPD at an open ventilated space to enable the patients suffering from blood cancer to continue their free treatment and stay safe from Covid-19 infection.

The blood cancer patients are more vulnerable to infections, especially Covid-19, which spreads rapidly.

The free medication programme for chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) was started in 2011 under which 2,700 patients have been registered by the medical oncology department of HMC.

The government has allocated Rs600 million for the free treatment programme for the current fiscal year.

`CML OPD is running as per routine and providing free medicines to cancer patients even when other OPDs are shut. We have allowed relatives of patients to receive medicines on their behalf if they can`t come themselves,` Prof Abid Jameel, head of oncology department, told Dawn.

He said that they were using a container as OPD and tents as waiting area for patients in the front lawn where they selected open and ventilated area to ensure distancing and safety of the people as well staffers, who were provided with personal protective equipment kits.

During the last two day, 200 patients have been attended.

Patients needing active treatment are entertained. Others will be seen after things get better.

`We are only seeing patients, whom we call in order to prevent infection and to protect patientsand our staff,` said Prof Abid.

The blood cancer patients are highly vulnerable to Covid-19 that`s why only few patients are called each day for their protection.

`The patients are given medicines for two months so that they don`t have to come frequently. It is a very fluid situation. We have to balance benefit and harm and protect patients and our staff from serious infection. If the patients cooperate then we intend to run it in future as well for two days a week,` he said.

The week OPD will be run four days a week due to backlog. From next week, it will be operation only for two days for those patients, who are called.

Prof Abid said that patients with other cancers would have to wait till situation improved because giving chemotherapy was dangerous for the staff as well as patients. `So, we are delaying it for the time being in patients as well as staff`s interest,` he said.
TELEMEDICINE: Bacha Khan Patients` Welfare Society has started telemedicine programme to ensure that people get services of specialist doctors from their homes.

`We have also distributing foodstuff among needy people in these trying times. Our specialist doctors can be contacted on telephone numbers 091-2246851, 0300-9079919, 0345-4647305 to seek treatment,` psychiatrist Dr Mian Iftikhar Hussain said.

He said that Malgari Doctoran, affiliated with Awami National Party, was at the forefront of the services provided to the people in natural calamities.

A telemedicine centre has been giving treatment services telephonically to the patients from the Institute of Kidney Diseases to ensure social distancing by staying inside homes.

The centre, a joint venture of Association of Public Health and Young Doctors Association, has entertained 3,100 patients during the last few days.

Source: Dawn

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