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November 14, 2015

Let’s repeat history


November 14, 2015

Thirty years ago, I lost my beloved mother in the fight against cancer. The mere thought of the disease is enough to scare the very soul out of me. It was an unbearable grief. Unfortunately, at that time, there was neither a cancer hospital, nor any facilities in the country to treat this horrific disease and we had to take her abroad for treatment.
This was the turning point of my life, when I envisioned the need of a cancer hospital for Pakistan and knew that I could not work alone to make the big dream come true. For this, we made a universal appeal to the general public within the country and abroad and by the Grace of Allah and with your valuable support, we were able to establish the first Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital and Research Centre in Lahore. Twenty-one years ago, all of you made it possible and the hospital opened its doors to the patients on December 29, 1994.
Till now, the hospital continues to serve the nation regardless of any caste, creed or colour and follows its mission to provide cancer care to the ever-growing number of cancer patients in the country. We are proud to say that with your significant contributions to the continuous development of Shaukat Khanum Healthcare Systems, we are providing healthcare professionals and latest research facilities to make people aware of the causes and treatments of cancer.
I am particularly thankful to those children and women who donated their pocket money, jewellery and savings to make Shaukat Khanum Hospital one of the finest hospitals in the world. Their contributions are priceless and I can proudly say that SKMCH&RC is the only hospital in the world giving free and best treatment to more than 75 per cent of its patients, according to international standards.
This hospital is serving thousands of poor cancer patients annually and has become a role model for the world community. The hospital is offering most advanced services and facilities and has spent more than Rs20 billion

on the treatment of the patients till now.
The journey doesn’t end here, there is so much more to be done, as we have ever increasing number of cancer patients, especially coming from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab. Need was, therefore, felt to build another Shaukat Khanum Cancer Memorial Hospital and Research Centre in Peshawar.
In recognition of the services being offered at SKMCH&RC, the then provincial government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa awarded us 50 kanals of land for the construction of the hospital at Hayatabad, Peshawar. You will be pleased to hear that once again with your dedicated support, we have been able to set up a seven-storey hospital with a covered area of 450,000 sq. feet at a cost of Rs4 billion.
The building is in final stages of completion and (In Shallah) it would start functioning by the end of December 2015 with the aim of providing cancer treatment services to the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and neighbouring areas. However, before the launching of the hospital, we need an additional amount of Rs800 million to equip it with latest machinery and for that we are looking forward to your usual generous support.
SKMCH&RC in Lahore continues to make efforts to minimise the suffering of patients afflicted with cancer through the application of modern methods of curative and palliative therapy. Due to a rapid increase in the prices of medicines in the market the hospital budget for 2015 has reached at Rs7.2 billion. I believe that with equivalent support of our resources and your donations, we can make a difference in the lives of the people of Pakistan.
It is pertinent to mention that SKMCH&RC Peshawar will not only provide free treatment to indigent patients, but will surely be a source of large-scale employment opportunities and would provide the best possible training to the paramedical staff in that area.
I would appeal to Pakistani doctors, especially oncologists abroad to visit Pakistan and use their expertise and experience to treat cancer and train our staff as they can greatly help in the progress of society.
This hospital would facilitate the public of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Fata and nearby areas. Previously, patients of these areas had to visit Lahore for the treatment and bear heavy travel expenses; especially female patients had to face difficulties because of cultural barriers but now the Peshawar Hospital will ease their problems.
The story of SKMCH&RC speaks volumes of love and care showered by your kindness and generosity. With the passage of time, my faith in compassion and humanity has increased and once again I look forward to your support to contribute wholeheartedly to the building of the second SKMCH&RC of Pakistan, as you have done in the past.
Let’s repeat history. Let’s make Shaukat Khanum Hospital Peshawar.

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