In a few months, the Liver Cancer and Transplant Clinic will start offering liver transplants at a very low cost of around Rs. 2.5 lakh

Bangalore’s own integrated clinic for liver cancer and transplant services, the first such in a government hospital in the country, got off the mark on Friday at the Bangalore Medical College and Research Institute Super Specialty Hospital.

In a few months, the Liver Cancer and Transplant Clinic will start offering liver transplants at a very low cost of around Rs. 2.5 lakh, N.S. Nagesh, head of the Department of Surgical Gastroenterology, BMCRISSH, said. The procedure costs around Rs. 40 lakh in private hospitals, he added.

The clinic has put all related patient services at a single location, starting from an SMS-enabled helpline, coordinators for appointments and advice, registration, to medical help and periodic follow-up.

The State government, which last month fast-tracked a Rs. 7.5-crore corpus for the institute’s liver transplant programme, has offered to sponsor the first 10 surgeries, Dr. Nagesh told The Hindu.

Minister of State for Medical Education Sharanprakash Patil launched the clinic on the Victoria Hospital campus in the presence of RGUHS Vice-Chancellor K.S. Sriprakash, Director of Medical Education S.S. Harsoor and BMCRI’s professor emeritus K.V. Ashok Kumar. Dr. Nagesh said 40 patients had registered for transplants, adding that the clinic would stimulate ethical organ donation for those in need. “Each year, about 2,500 patients require liver transplants in Karnataka. Barely 10 per cent of them can afford to get it done in private hospitals. Their main problems are the extremely high cost of surgery and availability of such a facility,” he said.

The programme includes creating facilities, creation of 11 new specialist posts over two years, and training young super-specialist gastroenterologists to ensure continuity of expert service for liver patients, Dr. Nagesh said. Patients with liver diseases can now dial or text 9901664800 for help.

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