PESHAWAR: A young cancer patient Fakhir Afridi, alongside Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan, inaugurated the Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital and Research Centre in Peshawar on Tuesday.
Speaking at the inauguration ceremony, Imran Khan said "construction of a state of the art cancer hospital in Peshawar was his dream which has now come true".
"The construction of this hospital is a miracle and everyone, regardless of his social standing, will be treated at the hospital," he added.
"Not only the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa populace, but people belonging to the remotest areas of the country will get medical treatment in this hospital. Nothing is impossible if you work with dedication and courage," said Imran Khan.
In his Twitter message, Imran termed the inauguration day as "the best day of his life". He thanked all the donors for making his dream of such a facility in Peshawar come true.
He was of the view that the hospital will be a model for all other medical facilities in Peshawar.
Located in Hayatabad area of provincial capital, the eight-storey hospital will have 20 chemotherapy beds, six emergency room beds, 12 admission beds, two intensive care units beds, radiology services including mammography, plain radiology and ultrasonography and a pathology laboratory.
This cancer hospital would not only provide the state of the art treatment facilities to residents of Khyber Pakthunkhwa but also to the people of remote areas of the country.
In the first phase, the hospital will provide X-ray, CT scan, MRI, chemotherapy and pathological services to the patients that will be followed by radiation services in the second phase, planned by 2015, and surgery after one year.
This is the second such facility built by Imran Khan led Shaukat Khanum Memorial Trust after the PTI chief's mother died of cancer. The cricketer-turned politician inaugurated the first cancer hospital in Lahore in 1994.
A number of media persons, politicians and celebrities attended the event while others congratulated Imran Khan through Twitter.
In the live worldwide fundraising telethon on late Sunday night, Imran Khan was accompanied by celebrities Waseem Akram, Atif Aslam, Ibrarul Haq, Javed Sheikh and Ahsan Khan while the background onscreen appeals were made by Reema Khan, Bushra Ansari, Javed Miandad, Anwar Maqsood and Rahat Feteh Ali Khan to make up for the deficit of Rs210 million.
Dr Asim Yousaf, the chief medical officer of SKMCH, had told Dawn newspaper that 25 per cent of the cancer patients checked in Lahore belonged to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Federally Administered Tribal Areas and Afghanistan. They faced accommodation problems in Lahore and bore travel costs, he said.
“Every year, we get 50,000 patients but only 8,000 are taken due to space. We are also embarking upon a Karachi hospital for which land has been acquired,” said Dr Asim.
He added that on an average the per month cost for cancer treatment was about Rs1 million which most patients couldn’t afford.
“We spend Zakat and donations besides our own income from collection centres and charges from paying patients on poor patients. Doctors don’t know about paying and non-paying ones,” he said.
Dr Asim said that they have spent Rs7 billion on the free treatment of 75 per cent patients.