PESHAWAR: The Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital and Research Centre is expanding its services to provide diagnostic and treatment facilities to more patients from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Fata and Afghanistan.

“About 25 per cent patients at SKMCH&RC Lahore belonged to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa due to which this facility was launched in December 29, 2015, in Peshawar,” Mohammad Tahir Aziz, chief operating officer of SKM Peshawar, told Dawn.

“We have examined 2,200 patients, of whom 200 were hospitalised during the last six months. Over 1,200 patients were admitted to the emergency ward and 2,000 underwent chemotherapy. The expansion programme is in progress,” he said

The health facility to offer treatment for all forms of cancer by 2018

Mr Aziz said that currently they were treating people for cancer of breast, intestine, Varian, esophagus and head and neck. “In phase-wised manner, we would be offering treatment for all forms of the disease by 2018 at a full-fledged 200-bed facility, which receives about 80 patients per day,” he added.

Mr Aziz said that all the patients got the same services while only 25 per cent paid for the services and 75 per cent got free treatment. “We take from rich and spend it on the poor,” he said.

The new patients first go to the clinic, which remains open round the-clock, and those accepted for treatment are asked if they want to pay or not and the ones opting for free services are referred to financial support services department to evaluate their economic status through standard criteria.

“Giving free cancer treatment in a third world country like Pakistan is very difficult, therefore, we want to help deserving patients. The patients also get free food,” said Mr Aziz.

Mr Aziz said that number of beds in emergency ward was being raised to 15. The children would get treatment after starting pediatric oncology at the hospital in August, he added.

The strength of five-bed intensive care unit (ICU) and as many bed chemo bay is also being increased to treat more patients. “We have got full-fledged pathological and radiology services with CT scan, MRI, X-ray, fluoroscopy, ultrasound, mammography scan which are also open to private patients referred by their doctors from other clinics and hospitals,” said Mr Aziz.

He said that all their departments were headed by four foreign-trained consultants, including two female, who ran clinical work at the hospital with the support of 325 staffers, including 15 doctors, 40 nurses and 30 paramedics.

“From next year, we are starting radiation and surgery departments after which none of the patients will have to visit Lahore,” said Mr Aziz.

Dr Kashif Sajjad, a consultant, said that they had set high standards of diagnostics and treatment in the area of cancer. “Apart from treatment, we have also a programme to scale up public awareness and prevent cancer,” he said.

“The SHMCH&RC works on principles of equality and quality. There’s no difference in treatment of paying and free patients. The physicians treat them equally,” said Dr Kashif.

Published in Dawn, June 22th, 2016



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