Prime Minister Imran Khan inaugurating the N-ovative Health Technologies facility at the National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST) in Islamabad. Image Credit: Supplied

Islamabad: Scientists working at Pakistan’s National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST) have launched a mega stent production facility in Pakistan with an aim to make quality healthcare affordable and accessible for all.

Prime Minister Imran Khan today inaugurated the N-ovative Health Technology facility that would manufacture cardiac stents locally. The initiative would reduce the country’s dependency on imported stent and bring down the cost of treatment for various cardiovascular diseases. A stent is a tiny metallic tube that is placed in the artery (blood vessels) that reduces the risk of blood clot blocking and prevents heart attacks.

World’s 18th country to locally produce stents

Lauding the efforts of the NUST team for trailblazing the path healthcare innovation in Pakistan, Khan said the local production of quality stents would “significantly reduce expenditures on treatment of heart diseases besides saving foreign exchange.” He assured government’s full support to higher education to promote a knowledge-based economy and to encourage local manufacturing and industrialization.

Pakistan unfortunately ranks 18 in the world by the World Health Organization (WHO) in coronary heart diseases, he said. However, “Pakistan has now become the 18th country in the world to have a production facility for cardiac stents and miscellaneous medical devices” which is in line with the “government’s objective of attaining self-sustainability.”

First-of-its-kind healthcare facility

Pakistan’s N-ovative Health Technologies (NHT), supported by the Ministry of Science and Technology, is a first-of-its-kind facility for indigenous development and production of high-quality and cost-effective stents and other life-supporting medical devices. The devices are expected to be available in local hospitals at one-fourth of the price of imported products by end of this year.

Affordable and quality healthcare

“Saving lives is the only motivation and the ideology behind NHT” says Dr Murtaza Najabat Ali, the man behind the healthcare innovation and CEO of NHT. The focus of the project is on “affordability, accessibility, good quality and self-sustainability.” NHT also aims “to create jobs for deprived segment, generate foreign exchange and develop self-reliance to minimize dependency on imports through local manufacturing” of safe, accessible and technologically advanced medical devices. NHT engaged country’s top medical experts and surgeons through the development, production, and trial processes to ensure the quality. The locally produced stents have been extensively testes in Pakistan and Germany.

Reduce cost and achieve self-sufficiency

In his message, President of Pakistan, Dr Arif Alvi President, congratulated the scientists involved in the project. With the launch of this facility, “Pakistan would be able to achieve self-sufficiency in the manufacturing of cardiac stents and save foreign exchange as well.” He urged the universities and medical institutions to focus on research and development.

Federal Minister for Science & Technology, Fawad Chaudhry, termed the innovation “another big step by Pakistan in medical technology” for the treatment of cardiovascular ailments. NHT has already secured the manufacturing licence from Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) for mass production of cardiac stents and angioplasty (PTCA) balloon catheters, he shared. Dr Faisal Sultan, Special Assistant to PM on Health, said the availability of indigenously manufactured cardiac stents and balloon catheters would greatly improve the quality of life by offering affordable access to quality healthcare to Pakistanis.