Taking to Pakistan the cure to cerebral palsy

M. Somasekhar Hyderabad | Updated on August 30, 2011

Pak surgeons getting trained in Hyderabad

About 20 years ago, a surgical procedure to set right cerebral palsy, which affects children, debilitating their limbs, was introduced in India, at the Nizam's Institute of Medical Sciences (NIMS), here.

Dr Warwick J Peacock, a renowned surgeon from the US, trained neurosurgeons at the NIMS, especially Dr A.K. Purohit, who heads the department of neurosurgery now. Over the past two decades, the NIMS has done a couple of thousand surgeries to help children.

Now, an effort is on to take this procedure to Pakistan, where the disease affects a few lakh children. Dr Rashid Jooma, a neurosurgeon, is at the NIMS understanding the facilities and work. “I would like to get some doctors trained so that people back home in Pakistan can benefit”, he told Business Line.

Cerebral palsy is caused by damage to parts of the brain that control muscles and movement. It manifests in the form of problem to limbs, learning and speech. Doctors at NIMS have been doing Selective Posterior Rhizotomy, which corrects the problems of limbs, especially motor control, explained Dr A.K. Purohit.

India and Pakistan share similar healthcare issues. Therefore, co-operation could benefit both, feels Dr Rashid, who served as the Director-General of the Federal Ministry of Health of Pakistan. Regulatory issues, unauthorised medical practitioners, spurious drugs, upgradation of paramedics and affordable and quality healthcare for all, are common challenges.

Both countries are also struggling with healthcare financing issues. India does have a fragmented universal healthcare financing, Government schemes and public-private partnerships. India has been able to pour more money in the last 5-7 years. Pakistan would like to learn some of the models and gain from India's experience, he felt.

Pakistan does not have much expertise in doing heart surgery for babies. Similarly, about 5,000 babies born with cerebral palsy annually do not have the access to surgical correction. However, neurosurgery is quite developed, he said.

Pointing out that people to people both countries share lots of similarity and concerns, Dr Rashid said more interactions would help in bringing peace and better understanding. Interestingly, Bombay Bakery is amongst the most popular bakery in Hyderabad of Pakistan, while Karachi bakery is amongst the popular one's here, he quipped.

Published on August 30, 2011

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