The recipient of the first bone marrow transplant in Bangladesh was released from hospital on Wednesday.
Ifte Ara, of Chilmari upazila in Rangpur, had been suffering from Multiple Myeloma, a cancer of the blood plasma.
The 48-year-old received the pioneering treatment at the haematology department of Bangladesh Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) on April 1.
“We have allowed Ifte to return to her village after the transplant,” said Prof Masuda Begum, the haematology department’s chairperson who was also the head of the transplant team.
“We have instructed her to visit us again after 15 days or one month for a follow-up. She need not come frequently for check-ups afterwards.”
Associate Professors Dr Md Salahuddin Shah, Dr Md Kamruzzaman Khan, Dr Md Rafikuzzaman Khan, and Mujahida Begum also presided over the treatment for Ifte.
Choosing to remain anonymous, one of the doctors said: “We used to give chemotherapy to patients before, but this transplant marked a breakthrough.”
Another member of the BSMMU team said that although they received no funds for this round of treatment, they hope to be able to provide bone marrow transplants at a cost of Tk3-5 lakh in future.
“Most Bangladeshi patients travel abroad for bone marrow treatments, spending around Tk25-30 lakh,” he said.
“In India, the treatment costs around Tk15-20 lakh, but we can cut this by three-quarters. We are pleased to have been able to successfully conduct this treatment on our own.”
Prof Masuda Begum said they are trying to lower the cost of bone marrow transplants.
“We did not charge Ifte Ara any additional payment as she was our first patient,” she said. “We only asked for some necessary items for the treatment.
“We have more patients on the list for treatment, but we will only treat those who are in good health.
This article was first published on banglatribune.com