Thalassaemia and Aplastic Anaemia patients now get free transplant at CMC through Coal India Ltd and MoHFW project
Dr William Bhatti, Director of CMC Ludhiana, applauded the vision of Coal India and MoHFW in extending the grant to the underprivileged thalassemia patients
Ludhiana: The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in collaboration with Coal India’s CSR funded HSCT (Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation) program, titled “Thalassemia Bal Sewa Yojna”, has announced the inclusion of Christian Medical College & Hospital, Ludhiana as one of the eight major centres in India. This was done through a rigorous scrutiny in selection of centres with past experience, peer review process and patient feedback.
The Department of Clinical Haematology, Haemato-Oncology and Bone Marrow (Stem cell) Transplantation was initiated in 2007 and the transplant program started in 2008. So far the institution has performed 185 transplants with more than 80 transplant for thalassaemia patients.
Thalassaemia is a genetic disorder which requires life long blood transfusion and stem cell transplantation, and can offer life time cure in such patients. An estimated 10,000 Thalassemia major children are born every year in India. Usually a fully HLA matched (10/10) sibling is required as a donor and only 20-30 % of patients will find a match considering the 2 children policy. However, such patients can now undergo matched unrelated donor transplant with a matched unrelated donor and CMCL has been doing this for the past 8 years.
The results of the thalassaemia transplants were published in international journals, with survival rates similar to other national and international centres, even though the pre-transplant risk status of patients were higher.
Aplastic Anemia is an acquired bone marrow disorder for where the marrow (factor where blood is produced from) is replaced by fat and body, is then unable to produce red cells, white cells and platelets. This is a life-threatening disease where the best curative treatment option is stem cell transplantation.
Although the decision to include CMCH in the ‘Thalassemia Bal Sewa Yojna” program was made before the corona outbreak, the official intimation came only 1 week ago. A total of Rs. 20 crores have been allotted for the entire project and the initial Rs. 2 Crores will be given as a first instalment and the second instalment will be released after the Hospital submits UC of 75% of the amount provided.
Further details and eligibility criteria and inclusion of the patients will be announced after the official signing of the agreement between CMCL and MoHFW, which is expected to happen shortly. The other centres included in the project are CMC Vellore, SGPGI Lucknow, PGIMER, AIIMS New Delhi, RGCI Delhi, TMC Kolkata and Narayana Hrudayalaya, Bangalore.
Dr. M. Joseph John, Professor and Head of the Department of Clinical Haematology, Haemato-Oncology & Bone Marrow Transplantation, said that “the grant provides hope, comfort and encouragement to those battling these disorders, and illustrates a strong desire by Coal India Limited, to help improve the quality of life for all patients with thalassemia in India”.
Dr William Bhatti, Director of CMC Ludhiana, applauded the vision of Coal India and MoHFW in extending the grant to the underprivileged thalassemia patients who have a matched sibling donor and are therefore eligible for bone marrow transplantation but do not have the financial resources to cover the cost of the procedure.
Dr Anil Luther, Medical Superintendent added that India will be truly shining if such proactive and humanitarian measures are taken up.