LUMS Alumnus Vows to Help Pakistan's Renal Patients

Friday, May 20, 2016

LUMS alumnus, Taha Shakoh, (BS Electrical Engineering 2015) aims to curb Pakistan’s increasing death rate due to chronic kidney disease with his hemodialysis mixing and delivery process.

Taha, who is a Master's researcher at the University of Sydney, shared his research at the IET Present Around the World Competition  held in Perth. Taha has made a major breakthrough for Pakistan’s renal patients by improving on a simple mixing and central delivery system currently used in kidney dialysis to create a hemodialysis mixing and delivering process. Taha's research is very pertinent to Pakistan as dialysis is a lifesaving process for end stage kidney disease patients and these patients undergo dialysis at least 3 times a week. 

“My father, Dr. Salman Shakoh is the pioneer of hemodialysis concentrates in Pakistan, which is essentially the solution needed during dialysis. He was my motivation for this project. He always told me to aim to help save lives no matter what field I was in. 80-90% of the end stage Kidney disease patients in developing countries die within the first year due to non-affordability and non-availability of dialysis facilities.“

“My father had designed the overall system on paper but was looking for a company to make the mixer for him. I was studying a micro-controller and interfacing course at LUMS at that time. I saw the diagram at home and it seemed like something I could make. It was just a bunch of valves and a motor being controlled by a controller, a relatively easy code for me. Moreover, this would mark my contribution towards saving lives since dialysis is a lifesaving procedure. I talked to my father and took this up as my course project. Thus during this course at LUMS with Dr. Muhammad Jahangir Ikram I made the first version of the mixer (the 1.0) and this version was exported to Nepal and is still running there.”

"LUMS was the first place where I touched a micro-controller so whatever feat I may achieve with this technology has its roots embedded in the corridors of the Syed Babar Ali School of Science and Engineering (SBASSE). At the time it seemed that some courses such as 'Electromagnetic Fields and Waves' and 'Data Structures' were not linked to electrical engineering however I can fully appreciate the value of these courses since I started my Masters in the same field. Apart from education, LUMS was a beautiful journey full of life long ties and mentors. Being Pakistan's premier institute, it also embodies a sense of patriotism in us which is ignited once one travels abroad. Being Luminites we are the representatives of Pakistan and whenever we excel in any field, LUMS and Pakistan excel with us. If this in itself is not a motivation to succeed, what else is?"

Currently, Taha is pursuing his Master’s at the University of Sydney and working on a more advanced, fully automated, touch screen controlled version of the mixer along with a central delivery system which will transfer the solution to all the dialysis machines through special piping once the mixer has made the final solution. Thus the central delivery system will further cut down on the cost of treatment by saving on labour costs and it is also more hygienic.

The system is almost ready and Taha would be coming to Pakistan in mid-July to work on the hardware since getting it made in Pakistan is cheaper and cutting on the cost of this life saving treatment is the ultimate aim.

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