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The Journey of a Patient: From Ethiopia to India for Bone Marrow Transplant at BLK-Max Hospital, Delhi

Samira, a 25-year-old woman from Ethiopia, was diagnosed with leukemia, a cancer of the blood and bone marrow, which produces white blood cells. Her treatment options in Ethiopia were limited, and her doctor recommended that she undergo a bone marrow transplant to increase her chances of survival. After extensive research, Samira and her family decided to seek medical treatment abroad and chose BLK Hospital in Delhi, India.

Overview of the healthcare system in Ethiopia

Ethiopia is a low-income country with a population of over 100 million people. Ethiopia’s healthcare system is poor, with limited resources, poor facilities, and a shortage of qualified healthcare workers. Patients who require specialized treatment, such as bone marrow transplants, must seek medical care outside of Ethiopia.

Reasons for choosing BLK Max Hospital

Samira and her family decided to come to India for her bone marrow transplant due to the country’s reputation for advanced medical facilities and skilled doctors. They chose BLK Max Hospital in Delhi because of its state-of-the-art medical technology and affordable costs compared to other countries. The hospital is well-known for its bone marrow transplant program and has a team of experienced doctors who specialize in the treatment of leukemia.

Best Bone Marrow Transplant Hospital in Delhi, India

BLK-Max Centre for Bone Marrow Transplant in India is one of the biggest and most advanced in Asia. It has modern infrastructure, experienced faculty, state-of-the-art laboratory and transfusion services, and a fully equipped Radiation Oncology unit. The Centre has successfully performed unrelated donor stem cell transplants and is authorized to collect stem cells for DATRI Blood Stem Cell Donor’s Registry. With over 125 specialists, nurses, and technicians, the Centre provides personalized treatment to each patient, focusing on high-quality care and the latest technology. The Centre’s “Patients First” philosophy has made it the leading bone marrow transplant centre in Asia.

Cost of Bone Marrow Transplant at BLK Max Hospital, India

Samira was impressed with the level of information she received about the costs of the various bone marrow transplants. She was informed that the hospital offered four different types of bone marrow transplants, each with varying costs. The costs were as follows:

  • Autologous (Myeloma) – $17,500
  • Autologous (Lymphoma) – $20,000
  • Allogenic (Full Match – Leukemia, AML, ALL, Sickle Cell Anemia, Thalassemia) – $29,000
  • Allogenic (Half Match – Leukemia, AML, ALL, Sickle Cell Anemia, Thalassemia) – $39,000

Types of Bone Marrow transplant available in BLK-Max Hospital, India

Samira was anxious about the procedure, and she had several questions about the type of transplant that would suit her condition. Before she travelled to India, she was explained each type of transplant in detail to ease her mind.

1. Autologous Bone Marrow Transplant

In this type of transplant, the patient’s own healthy bone marrow cells are collected and stored before being given back to the patient after high-dose chemotherapy. This type of transplant is used when the patient has a healthy bone marrow that can produce enough cells to replace the diseased cells.

2. Allogeneic Bone Marrow Transplant

In this type of transplant, the patient receives bone marrow cells from a donor who has a compatible tissue type. This can be a sibling, unrelated donor, or umbilical cord blood. This type of transplant is used when the patient’s bone marrow is not healthy enough to produce enough cells or when the patient has a genetic disorder that affects the blood cells.

3. Haploidentical Bone Marrow Transplant

This type of transplant is a type of allogeneic transplant where the donor is a half-match. The donor can be a parent, sibling or child. This type of transplant is used when there is no full match donor available.

Samira opted for an allogeneic bone marrow transplant, and her family in Ethiopia was tested to find a suitable donor. Fortunately, her younger brother was a perfect match, and he was willing to donate his stem cells.

What are the Different Types of Bone Marrow Transplant Donors?

Samira’s doctors explained to her that there are three types of bone marrow transplant donors: related, unrelated, and cord blood donors.

Related Donors

A related donor is usually a sibling or a close family member. The donor’s bone marrow must be a close match to the patient’s bone marrow to be a suitable donor. If the donor is a close match, the chances of success for the transplant are higher.

Unrelated Donors

An unrelated donor is someone who is not related to the patient. These donors are found through national and international bone marrow registries. The matching process is done by comparing the human leukocyte antigen (HLA) typing of the donor and the patient. The HLA typing is a set of genes that help the immune system distinguish between self and non-self. Finding an unrelated donor can be a lengthy process, and the success of the transplant depends on the compatibility of the donor’s bone marrow with the patient’s.

Umbilical Cord Blood Donors

Umbilical cord blood donors are a type of allogeneic donor. After a baby is born, the blood is removed from the umbilical cord and kept in a cord blood bank. The blood contains stem cells, which can be used for bone marrow transplantation. The advantage of umbilical cord blood donors is that the chances of rejection are lower than in allogeneic donors because the stem cells are immature and can adapt to the recipient’s body.

Bone Marrow transplant technologies in BLK-Max Hospital, India

Before traveling to India, Samira was explained the types of medical technologies that would be used during her treatment in detail. This helped her prepare herself mentally and emotionally for the journey ahead. She was reassured that she would be in good hands and that the BLK Hospital in Delhi had state-of-the-art medical equipment and facilities.

Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation (HSCT) Machines

BLK Hospital has HSCT machines that collect stem cells from the patient’s blood, bone marrow, or umbilical cord. These machines are capable of collecting large numbers of stem cells in a short amount of time, which is required for a successful transplant.

Stem Cell Harvesting Machine

The stem cell harvesting machine is used to collect healthy stem cells from the patient or a donor. These stem cells are then infused into the patient’s body after the diseased bone marrow is destroyed by chemotherapy.

High-Resolution Imaging Equipment

BLK Hospital has high-resolution imaging equipment, including CT scans, MRI scans, and PET scans. These imaging technologies are used to detect the presence and extent of cancer cells in the patient’s body. They also help doctors to determine the best course of treatment for the patient.

Haematology Analysers

Before the bone marrow transplant, Samira underwent several tests using haematology analysers. These analysers are used to analyse blood samples to detect various diseases and disorders, including blood cancer. Haematology analysers provide a complete blood count, which includes the number of red and white blood cells, platelets, and haemoglobin levels.

Bone Marrow Transplant Medical Visa process for Ethiopian Patients

Samira’s journey began with applying for a medical visa so she could travel to India for the transplant. The hospital’s medical team helped her with this process by guiding her through the relevant paperwork and procedure.

The first step in the procedure required Samira and the person who would be traveling with her to submit copies of their passports.

The Indian Embassy in Ethiopia then granted Samira and her companion a medical visa invitation letter, which served as evidence of their eligibility for a medical visa, after receiving the passport copies.

It is crucial to remember that the processing period for a medical visa can change, therefore you should check with the embassy for an estimated processing time. Samira and her companion were able to fly to India for their medical care once the medical visa application was processed and granted.

Bone Marrow Transplant FRRO Registration

The hospital staff will handle the FRRO registration process for you once you arrive in India. They will give you all the information and paperwork needed for the registration, as well as help you finish the process.

Documents required for Bone Marrow Transplant

There are a number of legislative requirements that must be met before a bone marrow transplant procedure can be performed in India. To guarantee that the transplant is carried out in compliance with legal and ethical standards, the bone marrow transplant committee in the hospital supervising the surgery requires a specified set of documents. The list of documents required for successful approval by the committee are as follows:

Documents for Bone Marrow Transplant Recipient

  1. ID Proofs: Passport, National ID
  2. Family Photos with Donor, Parents, Brothers and sisters – 10 to15 (color copies)
  3. Passport size photos recent – 15 copies
  4. Relationship certificate/Marriage certificate
  5. School Documents

Documents for Bone Marrow Transplant Donor

  1. ID Proofs: Passport, National ID
  2. Passport size photos recent – 15 copies
  3. Birth Certificate of Donor
  4. Educational Certificate of donor

Documents for Bone Marrow Transplant Consent

  1. ID Proofs: Passport, National ID
  2. Passport size photos recent – 04 copies
  3. Form-21 for NOC (Embassy)

*HLA Report

*Psychiatric Clearance

*Blood Group Donor & Recipient

*Carry all original documents

Bone Marrow Transplant Video Consultation from Top Bone Marrow transplant surgeons

Samira had heard about the BLK Hospital in India, which is renowned for its expertise in bone marrow transplant surgery. However, she was hesitant to travel to India without knowing what to expect. That’s when the hospital arranged a video consultation with the top bone marrow transplant surgeons, who explained the entire procedure to her.

During the video consultation, the doctors described the entire bone marrow transplant procedure to Samira in detail. They explained how the transplant would be done and what her postoperative care would entail. They also gave her an idea of what to expect during her recovery period.

Samira was impressed with the doctors’ professionalism and their willingness to answer all her questions. She felt reassured by their expert guidance, and her confidence in the procedure increased. She decided to travel to India and undergo the bone marrow transplant surgery at BLK Hospital.

Bone Marrow Transplant Success Rate in BLK-Max Hospital, India

With a success rate of over 80%, BLK has completed more than 650 bone marrow transplants in a short period of time, ranking on par with the best in the world.

In addition to receiving patients from India, the bone marrow Center also receives patients from Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Kenya, Sudan, the United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, and Nepal.

The Bone Marrow Transplant Journey

Pre-transplant preparation

The pre-transplant preparation involved several medical tests and evaluations to ensure that Samira was healthy enough to undergo the transplant. The medical team at BLK hospital conducted a thorough evaluation of her medical history, conducted blood tests, and performed a biopsy to determine the extent of her cancer. In addition, they also ensured that Samira was physically fit for the transplant, and she underwent several rounds of chemotherapy to prepare her body for the transplant. Financial arrangements and visa processes were also critical aspects of the pre-transplant preparation.

Arrival in India

The journey to India was not easy for Samira, who was traveling overseas for the first time. However, the medical team at BLK hospital ensured that her journey was as comfortable as possible. They arranged for her travel and accommodation, and the hospital staff were present at the airport to receive her.

Transplant process

Samira’s bone marrow transplant journey started with an initial consultation with the hematologist and oncologist at BLK Hospital in Delhi. Once the doctors confirmed that she was eligible for the procedure, Samira underwent chemotherapy to destroy the cancer cells in her body and make way for the new bone marrow.

Following chemotherapy, Samira underwent a bone marrow transplant operation in which healthy bone marrow stem cells from a donor were used to replace her damaged bone marrow.

The bone marrow transplant procedure was conducted under general anesthesia, and the transplant surgeon made a small incision in Samira’s hip bone to collect the bone marrow stem cells. The collected stem cells were then infused into Samira’s bloodstream through a vein.

Post-operative care and Recovery

The post-operative care and recovery phase of the transplant process were the most challenging for Samira. She experienced severe side effects such as nausea, vomiting, and fatigue, which are common after transplant surgeries. However, the medical team at BLK Hospital provided her with round-the-clock care and attention, ensuring that she had a comfortable recovery.

The recovery process was slow, but Samira gradually began to regain her strength. She was prescribed several medications, including immunosuppressants, to prevent her body from rejecting the new bone marrow cells. The medical team also monitored her progress regularly, conducting tests and check-ups to ensure that her body was responding well to the new cells.

Follow-up Care

Following the bone marrow transplant, Samira needed to continue visiting her transplant team for regular check-ups to monitor her progress. She was also instructed to lead a healthy lifestyle that included eating well and exercising frequently to strengthen her immune system.


Samira’s bone marrow transplant journey to BLK Hospital in Delhi was a life-changing experience. The transplant procedure and post-operative care were managed effectively by the doctors, and Samira’s recovery was successful. Her story is a testament to the importance of early diagnosis and treatment for blood and bone marrow cancers. With the right care and support, patients like Samira can overcome their illness and lead healthy and fulfilling lives.

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