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May 25, 2019

‘Shaukat Khanum Hospital has spent over Rs39b on deserving patients since 1994’


May 25, 2019

LAHORE: “Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital & Research Centre (SKMCH&RC) is a tribute to generosity of people of Pakistan as it has spent over Rs39 billion in providing free treatment to thousands of deserving cancer patients since it’s commissioning in 1994,” says Dr Faisal Sultan, Chief Executive Officer of SKMCH&RC, in an interview with The News.

He said that SKMCH&RC Lahore has completed 24 years of its services and SKMCH&RC Peshawar has completed three successful years in December 2018.

Imran Khan’s dream to build a modern hospital that provides state-of-the-art cancer treatment facilities and services, irrespective of the patient’s ability to pay, was to honour the memory of his mother, Shaukat Khanum.

Dr Faisal Sultan said that, according to a report published by International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), 2018 saw more than 18 million new cases of cancer worldwide of which nearly five million cases of breast, cervical, colorectal, and oral cancers could have been detected sooner and treated more effectively, improving patient survival rates and quality of life. He said that half of cancer related deaths occurred only in Asia as various types of cancer are very common here.

In Pakistan, he said, cancer has become second highest cause of death, after cardiovascular diseases. Approximately 150,000 to 200,000 new cancer patients are being registered every year in Pakistan. In comparison to this large number of patients, available facilities to treat them are very few.

Dr Faisal Sultan said that every year only Shaukat Khanum Hospital registers almost 10,000 new cancer patients. He said the patient admission policy at the facility is reviewed on regular bases. He said that the policy was made to provide free-of-cost cancer treatment to as maximum number of patient as possible.

Dr Faisal informed that Shaukat Khanum Hospital is providing financially supported cancer treatment to 75% of its patients since 1994.

So far, Rs39 billion has been spent on free-of-cost cancer treatment. This year, he said, we need Rs8.5 billion in Zakat and donations to help treat thousands of poor cancer patients. “Zakat is spent only on the treatment of poor and deserving cancer patients,” he added. He said the budget for the year 2019 is Rs13 bi llion, a sum which will allow the hospital to continue to provide free-of-cost cancer treatment to over 75% to 80% of all cancer patients seen in Peshawar and Lahore. Besides, he said, it will also fund the construction of the Clinical Tower in Lahore, the development of surgical services in Peshawar and the construction of the hospital in Karachi.

Last year, Dr Faisal Sultan said, SKMCH&RC Lahore was awarded the Joint Commission International’s (JCI) Gold Seal of Approval for Hospital Accreditation by demonstrating continuous compliance with the JCI’s internationally-recognised standards. “The Gold Seal of Approval is a symbol of quality that reflects an organisation’s commitment to providing safe and effective patient care,” he added.

Dr Faisal Sultan said that SKMCH&RC Peshawar has completed phase II of its development, with the introduction of radiation treatment facilities and radiotherapy services, and now has a functional Clinical and Radiation Oncology Department. Following on from this, he said, we plan to start construction of the operating rooms in the Peshawar hospital, with a view to commencing surgical services there during 2020. Dr Faisal Sultan informed that the construction of a multi-storied clinical tower in Lahore is also expected to start in 2019, which will double the capacity of patients at SKMCH&RC, Lahore. He termed it a need of the time due to the ever increasing number of cancer patients in Punjab and adjoining areas.

Since its inception, he informed that medical technology at SKMCH&RC is regularly being updated. “We have upgraded the Radiology department at SKMCH&RC, Lahore,” he said, adding that the latest machines and technology in Lahore and Peshawar include 3-Tesla MRI technology, D-digital mammography facilitates, low-dose Chest CT scan, 1.5 Tesla MRI, 16-slice CT simulator and Vital beam linear accelerators.

Regarding Shaukat Khanum Hospital’s third project in Karachi, Dr Faisal Sultan said that the construction of a comprehensive cancer centre in Karachi has been started. He said that it would not only provide state-of-the-art cancer care facilities to the people of Sindh and Balochistan, but it will also help to enhance healthcare standards and develop training and employment opportunities in the wider region as a whole.

In line with its mission to ensure access to the poor, he said that over 75% of our cancer patients receive free cancer care and this will continue in Karachi. He said that the construction of the hospital was expected to be completed over a period of three-year time-frame, at an estimated cost of Rs9 billion.

“The hospital is planning to open in December 2021 as a fully-functional cancer hospital with all essential clinical and support departments one would expect of a facility of this nature,” he added.

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