Binaytara Foundation (BTF) and the University of Illinois Hospital and Health Sciences System have partnered with the Civil Service Hospital, Kathmandu, Nepal, in a project to develop the country’s first Blood and Marrow Stem Cell Transplant (BMT) Center. Stem cell transplant is a standard procedure for the treatment of many blood cancers. The planned BMT center in Bharatpur will aim to serve not only the 30 million people of Nepal but also millions of people from neighbouring India.
BTF and University of Illinois joint efforts will facilitate the training of physicians, and support in the development of a modern blood bank. A block of 5 patient rooms at Civil Service Hospital has been allocated for the care of patients who will receive BMT. University of Illinois Blood and Marrow Transplant Program and Center for Global Health will assist BTF’s efforts to work closely with staff in Nepal via telemedicine training programs as well as hosting physicians from Nepal in Chicago, Illinois. Prof. Damiano Rondelli, MD, a renowned BMT expert at the University of Illinois Hospital and collaborator of BTF, will head the project. Dr. Rondelli says “After visiting the Cancer Hospital in Bharatpur with Dr. Binay Shah in May 2011, we immediately felt the challenge to help patients with blood cancer in Nepal. Many of these patients are in need of stem cell transplant but they currently don’t have this option. We are well aware of the many challenges that this project will face but we are fully committed to allow Nepal to achieve this goal. It is like climbing a new Himalaya peak and we will get on the top. BTF and the University of Illinois Hospital resources are ready to succeed.”
Nepal is a landlocked developing country bordered by China and India. Recent World Health Organization reports suggest that deaths from cancer are increasing to epidemic proportions in developing countries. At B.P. Koirala Memorial Cancer Hospital, 600 patients with leukemia, 110 patients with lymphoma, and 40 patients with multiple myeloma were diagnosed in one year alone, 2010. A BMT facility in Kathmandu, Nepal will serve thousands of patients from Nepal and neighboring states of India.