12 successful bone marrow transplants
Nawaloka Hospital has successfully completed 12 Bone Marrow
Transplants, since the hospital performed its first bone marrow
transplant in 2014 in its self-contained unit, built exclusively for
stem cell transplants for diseases such as Thalassemia and other
Sri Lanka's first such BMT (Bone Marrow Transplant) Unit, installed
in 2014, at a cost of over Rs 100 Million raises hope for patients
suffering from diseases such as Thalassemia, who at the moment has to
resort to seeking treatment abroad at phenomenal expenses. The
state-of-the-art unit uses HEPA-filtered, positive pressure rooms to
ensure that the air which is circulated is filtered and contamination
free. It is also equipped with a separate lab and cell processing unit.
The latest addition, a stem cells Apheresis machine separates and
collects cells from peripheral blood to be used in bone marrow
"Bone Marrow Transplant program is one of our latest technological
achievements" explained a hospital official. Sri Lanka has a significant
Thalasseamia affected population. Thalassemia can be cured with a BMT.
Since this disease is diagnosed early childhood, it is gratifying to
know that a transplant can offer a second chance in life. It is so
rewarding to us personally as well as professionally to see these
children pick up their lives and face the future with renewed vigour. It
is heartening to see those lead normal lives once again".
BMT team at Nawaloka comprise Oncologists, hematologists,
pediatricians, transfusion specialists, physicians and Nursing
professionals dedicated to providing the utmost in care to these
patients who undergo a 4 week isolated recovery period under strict
At present, 5% of Sri Lanka's national budget is spent on treatment
of Thalassemia which essentially are blood transfusions carried out
regularly for the unfortunate awaiting transplants. Children diagnosed
with Thalassemia require monthly blood transfusion with treatment
starting as early as 5 months of age and lasting a life span.
Blood transfusion costs rise significantly with age too. The
prevalence of the affliction is presently at 3,000 with 500,000
identified 'carriers'. Total cost of treatment for a Thalassemic patient
is approximately Rs 17 million for injection medication.
The government spends approximately Rs 6.5 million of the healthcare
budget for treatments. About 80 patients a year go overseas for Bone
Marrow Transplant procedures; a relatively low number due to the
inordinately high costs of such transplant.
Nawaloka celebrated its successful 12th bone marrow
transplant with the fortunate children and their families.