Nepal's sole bone marrow transplant doctor

June 7, 2017 01:30 AM Bishnu Prasad Aryal


Dr Bishesh Poudyal of the Civil Service Hospital in Kathmandu is the doctor who carried out all 18 transplants. At Civil the cost per transplant is between Rs 400,000 to Rs 500,000.
KATHMANDU, June 7: A total of 18 bone marrow transplants have been successfully carried out in Nepal by a single doctor in Kathmandu since 2012.

A bone marrow transplant is a medical procedure performed to replace bone marrow that has been damaged or destroyed by disease, viral infection, or chemotherapy. This procedure involves transplanting blood stem cells, which travel to the bone marrow where they produce new blood cells and promote growth of new marrow.

Bone marrow is the spongy, fatty tissue inside the bones. It creates the red blood cells that carry oxygen and nutrients throughout the body, white blood cells that fight infection, and platelets that are responsible for the formation of clots. 

Dr Bishesh Poudyal of the Civil Service Hospital in Kathmandu is the doctor who carried out all 18 transplants. "I am going to carry out bone marrow transplants on another six patients in near future," said Poudyal, who was born at Jawalakhel of Lalitpur.

Dr Poudyal, who passed SLC 24 years ago from Adarsha Vidya Mandir, was inspired by his father to pursue studies in hematology and bone marrow transplant. After completing his MBBS and MD from China and transplant training from India and USA under government scholarships, he started working at the Bir Hospital. "I served there for two years at Bir Hospital as per the government rule for scholarship students," he said.

Then, Dr Poudyal left the Bir Hospital as he came to know that bone marrow transplant was not possible at Bir and joined Civil Service Hospital. He also practised at the Nobel Medical College Hospital at Sinamangal where he started bone marrow transplant in 2012. "As I came to know Nobel was charging patients between Rs 800,000 to Rs 1 million per transplant, I quit the hospital," he said.

At his initiation, the Civil Hospital started bone marrow transplant about a year ago. At Civil the cost per transplant is between Rs 400,000 to Rs 500,000.
 
The transplant recepients ranged from 22 years old to 64 years. Two patients died after about nine months of transplant. "One died of tuberculosis infection and another died of disease complications," according to Dr Poudyal.

"Bone marrow is transplanted in cancer and other blood diseases. Bone marrow is transplanted in different ways-- by treating patients' bone marrow, using siblings' and parents' bone marrow and matched unrelated donor (MUD). "We have not transplanted bone marrow under MUD category," said Dr Poudyal. "MUD is a condition of matching gene with other persons. A person's genes match those of only one percent of the population of the entire world," he added.

There is no actual data of patients with bone marrow problems in the country. However, 400 to 600 patients visit Civil Service Hospital for treatment of acute lukemia and other blood cancer cases per year. "Forty to 50 percent patients of blood cancer recover fully while the recovery rate among bone marrow recepients is 70-80 percent," said Dr Poudyal. 


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