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November 29, 2020

Long-awaited, much-delayed PIC set to open in December

Peshawar

November 29, 2020

PESHAWAR: The long-awaited and much-delayed Peshawar Institute of Cardiology (PIC) is finally set to open its doors to cardiac patients next month when Prime Minister Imran Khan would formally inaugurate it.

“There is no doubt it was delayed for quite a long time due to various reasons but we are happy to share this good news with you that we are going to open PIC for patients in December. By the grace of Allah, this is a state-of-the-art centre where all cardiac services would be offered under one roof,” Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Health Minister Taimur Saleem Jhagra told journalists. He said they had selected the best available staff of national and international repute to run KP’s first mega cardiac centre.

Taimur Jhagra said they didn’t want to compete with others but pledged to bring the PIC at the level or even better than the National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases (NICVD) in Karachi. “I felt proud today when I first met with some of the staff who have come from the United Kingdom and joined PIC,” said the health minister.

He said Prime Minister Imran Khan and Chief Minister Mahmood Khan wanted to focus on health and were keen to bring a major change in the health sector in the next few years.

Taimur Jhagra said the prime minister had pledged not to shut the business activities even though the Covid-19 pandemic had affected each and every sector.

He said Covid-10 pandemic would remain a big challenge but they would successfully handle it if the political leadership of the country and the masses consider it a serious issue by following the standard operating procedures (SOPs). He said before the political rally of Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) in Peshawar on November 22, the city reported 13 percent positive cases. However, he said it had risen to 20 percent in the last few days, particularly after the PDM rally.

When asked whether the KP government would initiate legal action against the opposition leaders if rise in corona cases was noted as it had warned earlier, he said he would discuss it with the chief minister before taking any action.

Regarding reservations of certain quarters about hiring for PIC, Taimur Jhagra said all the doctors were recruited on merit. “They are the most qualified people to run this centre,” he maintained.

Prof Shahkar Ahmad Shah, medical director of the PIC, told reporters that they had almost completed the hiring process and most of the equipment had arrived and been installed.

Prof Shahkar is a cardiac surgeon and reportedly undertook the first cardiac surgery in the Lady Reading Hospital (LRH). The department unfortunately didn’t survive after he left for abroad and Dr Nausherwan Burki, chairman BoG LRH, had to shut it, allegedly due to serious deficiencies and high mortality rate.

Prof Shahkar said PIC would have 262 total beds, but they planned to start it from 160 beds, including all critical services. “I would like to congratulate the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa for having this major cardiac specialty in their province. We have here the best staff who have served at reputed cardiac set-ups in Pakistan and overseas,” he added.

PIC, he said, had six operation theatres and six Cath labs but they would launch their services from three operation theatres and three Cath labs.

Prof Shahkar said once the entire cardiac centre is operational they would undertake 2,500-3,000 cardiac surgeries annually. He said 80 percent of patients of the province go to Islamabad and other places for treatment as cardiac facilities were not up to the mark in KP.

After PIC is completed, he said they had a plan to set up similar cardiac setups in Abbottabad, Mardan, Swat, etc. It is a long and painful story that delayed completion of PIC. The foundation stone of PIC was laid in 2005 but lack of interest on the part of political leadership and successive governments had delayed this important project. It was the first time in the two-decade history of PIC that it hosted a maiden function on its premises on Saturday by briefing the media about the institute.