International workshop on PVDs in Nepal: When West meets East
Pulmonary Vascular Diseases (PVDs) are becoming increasingly important health burden in developing countries like Nepal. Registries and database of PVD patients, adequate medical knowledge and training, as well as available therapeutic options are inadequate (Luitel H, et al, Schermuly RT, Kosanovic D. PVRI Chronicle 2015). Based on available information (Luitel H, et al, Schermuly RT, Kosanovic D. PVRI Chronicle 2015; Bhandari et al. BMC Public Health 2014; Government of Nepal, National Planning Commission, 2012; Prevalence of NCDs in Nepal, 2010; Government of Nepal, Central Bureau of Statistics, 2014), many Nepalese are either at high risk or suffering from several PVDs. These sources also show that 1/3 of the heart related conditions in Nepal are recognized to be associated with the right side of the heart indicative of the presence of pulmonary hypertension. In addition, due to the lifestyle and environment (including large usage of traditional biomass fuel, air pollution derived by brick industries/technically defective vehicles), COPD with its pulmonary and vascular complications may also be very prevalent. Finally, Nepal is a mountainous country, and a large percentage of population lives in high altitude regions. Many others travel (pilgrims) at high altitude predisposing themselves to high altitude acute and chronic hypoxia-associated changes of the pulmonary circulation.
Research unit for PVD is lacking in Nepal along with no focus to train during medical education (Luitel H, et al, Schermuly RT, Kosanovic D. PVRI Chronicle 2015). Therefore, Justus-Liebig University (JLU), Giessen, Germany and the Agriculture and Forestry University (AFU), Chitwan, Nepal signed a Memorandum of Understanding which considers an official agreement between these two institutions to establish, initiate and perform various activities both in the terms of translational research and education (teaching and sharing practical clinical experiences). Finally, in 2015 JLU team have took the first step in order to concretely realize the collaboration and visited the AFU, Chitwan, Nepal, where JLU team members taught a class for postgraduate students. They also provided instrumental support to establish a contemporary PVD laboratory in Nepal apart from sharing their experiences and knowledge about the equipment and techniques with focus on animal models as well as logistic and organizational activities necessary for maintenance of the modern scientific lab facility.
With a continuing collaboration, JLU team visited the AFU again in November 2016. During this second visit, both the JLU and AFU teams worked on the establishment of the permanent laboratory animal (mice and rats) house for the constant small research animals supply. In addition, we performed the first hemodynamic measurements, and tested the equipment which were installed during in 2015. In addition to the large equipment, JLU donated all other necessary consumable research tools, making this lab ready to be used as a modern and contemporary lab in the field of pulmonary vascular research. We are the first laboratory of its kind in the country dedicated to the improve health of animals and humans with novel research.
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