LAHORE - Keeping in view the rising trend in liver diseases, and long-standing demand of the patients flying abroad for liver transplantation, the Punjab government has decided to establish a Liver Disease Management Cell (LDMC) costing Rs 1064.99 million at the Jinnah Hospital. The proposed LDMC will have 90-beds including 20 beds for the Intensive Care Unit (Medical ICU 10, Surgical ICU 10), besides 20 private rooms. About 60,000 Sq ft area has been allocated on the 4th floor of the hospital for the LDMC. A helipad will also be provided for this purpose at the adjoining Burn Centre, which will be connected by a skywalk. The said cell when completed will have three endoscopic suites of which one with digital fluoroscopy, three modern operation theatres, diagnostic and interventional radiology suites and advanced laboratory facilities. It will have five sections including Gastroenterology and Hepatology section, GI and Hepatobiliary surgery, Pathology, Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology and GI and Liver Oncology. The cell will focus on preventable diseases that include Hepatitis A, B, C, D, E, peptic ulcers, H pylon infection, infectious diarrhea, enteric fever, GI and liver cancers. It will also be committed to do advanced research. Faculty and trainees will be required to produce research papers of international standard and the promotion will depend on that research work. They will be encouraged to collaborate with local and foreign institutions. The ideas and philosophy of the LDMC will go far beyond the Institute of Gastroenterology and Hepatology. The medical experts states that gastrointestinal and liver diseases are tremendously increasing with the passage of time. They account for 30-40 per cent of patients visiting the outpatient and emergency departments of public hospitals. At any given time, 30-40 per cent of patients admitted to any medical unit of teaching hospital have gastrointestinal and liver diseases. While 5 per cent of Pakistani population suffers from Hepatitis B infection and 6 per cent from Hepatitis C, which can lead to end-stage liver disease requiring high-specialised care and liver transplantation, which is not available in Pakistan. Resultantly, the patients have to travel to foreign countries like China, India, US and Europe for this very expensive treatment. They said other diseases which were very common and add further burden to existing resources include enterically transmitted diseases like H pylon infection, infectious diarrheal colitis, Hepatitis A and E, peptic ulcer disease, inflammatory bowel disease, esophageal, gastric, colonic and pancreatic malignancies. The existing facilities in the government and the private sector could not cope with such large number of patients requiring diagnoses and treatment. Thus, a large number of patients were left untreated, they added. As at present there is no comprehensive gastroenterology and hepatology centre in the government sector, so there was a dire need to establish a centre of excellence in the province for the treatment of gastrointestinal and liver diseases. Highlighting the importance of the LDMC, Jinnah Hospital Principal Prof Dr Javed Akram said that the project was part of a national-level objective and would strengthen this objective ie, increase the life expectancy of the patients through improvement in their health status. He said that due to enhancement in facilities, a tremendous increase in influx of patients had been observed. The influx of patients who had gastroenterology and liver diseases has also increased enormously, he said, adding that all critically ill patients of liver diseases required modern diagnostic modalities. So, the LDMC will not only help in diagnosis, but also curative treatment for the patients in emergency situations also, the AIMC Principal concluded.