Tuesday September 21, 2021

Cancer hospitals

August 03, 2021

For a population of nearly 12 million people, there is no cancer screening centre in Balochistan. Perhaps that should not be surprising when even today, some areas of Balochistan remain unconnected with the national power grid. When Imran Khan built the first tertiary care cancer hospital in Punjab, it was located in the outskirts of Lahore where the Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) did not use to supply electricity. Despite limited facilities, he managed to build a state-of-the-art cancer hospital which became home to Pakistan’s first PET CT scanning system. Later, he built cancer screening centres in Peshawar and Karachi. This meant that even if cancer patients did not have a tertiary care cancer hospital in their region, they would have access to facilities in Lahore. Although accessing treatment remained difficult due to distance, cost of traveling, housing and so on, it gave some hope to people.

However, no such screening centre has been built in Balochistan. Now, with the construction of the third cancer hospital in Karachi, one can hope that Imran Khan will consider setting up a cancer screening centre in Balochistan. In the absence of a functional national cancer registry, such a screening centre can also play an important role in acquiring data to determine disease burden in the region. The people of Balochistan also deserve an equal chance at hope against cancer.

Mariam Khan