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Thursday, January 26, 2023

Pakistan’s first arthritis centre launched in Karachi

An organization of medical professionals has opened Pakistan's first arthritis center in Karachi under the direction of an American board-certified rheumatologist for the purpose of providing early diagnosis and treatment for musculoskeletal illnesses and systemic autoimmune diseases, collectively known as rheumatic diseases.

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At the PAAC’s inauguration ceremony on Wednesday, managing director Dr. Saliha Ishaq stated, “We have signed a memorandum of understanding with a local health group for the establishment of Pak-American Arthritis Centre (PAAC), where foreign and locally trained and qualified rheumatologists will be available for the diagnosis and treatment of rheumatic diseases, which are very common in Pakistan but are difficult to diagnose and treat by other health experts.

Numerous other prominent rheumatologists, including Dr. Babar Saeed Khan, Dr. Tabe Rasool from the Dow University of Health Sciences, Dr. Tahira Perveen from Liaquat National Hospital, Dr. Babar Saeed Khan, Chief Executive Officer of Ehad Medical Centre Karachi Dr. Anam Dayem, as well as dozens of other rheumatologists and health professionals, were also present.

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What is rheumatoid arthritis?

According to experts, rheumatoid arthritis, or RA, is an autoimmune and inflammatory disease, in which the immune system of a person attacks healthy cells in his or her body by mistake, causing inflammation (painful swelling) in the affected parts of the body. Rheumatoid arthritis mainly attacks the joints, usually many joints at once.

Dr Saliha said they have signed the MoU with the Ehad Medical Centre, which had over 20 branches throughout Karachi where trained and qualified rheumatologists would be available following the establishment of the PAAC. The network of the center would be expanded to other cities of Pakistan with the expansion of the Ehad Medical Centre in the country, she said.

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Speaking about the burden of arthritis in Pakistan, Dr. Saliha said around three percent of the Pakistani population was suffering from different auto-immune diseases as well as rheumatoid arthritis, but unfortunately due to a lack of trained and qualified rheumatologists in Pakistan, thousands of people, both young and old, were living with chronic pain for years without proper treatment and management.

“Feeling the need for a dedicated arthritis treatment center in Karachi, we have established this center which will be serving patients from entire Sindh and Balochistan as well as from South Punjab, who are unable to get proper treatment, as most of the public and private health facilities lack the services of rheumatologists in this vast area.”