KARACHI: The Sindh government and a non-governmental organisation, the Patients’ Aid Foundation, have entered into a formal working partnership to operate various facilities at the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC), including CyberKnife, for a period of 25 years to further improve free diagnosis and treatment facilities for people.
An agreement in this regard was signed at a ceremony held here at a local hotel on Sunday. Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah, renowned philanthropist and chairman of the foundation Mushtaq Chhapra and others also present.
Speaking on the occasion, the chief minister said that after the devolution of the JPMC to the provincial government, the Patient’s Aid Foundation had enhanced its capacity from 1,100 beds to 2,208 beds.
He said that the foundation had installed two CyberKnife and Tomotherapy machines, which were jointly operated by the Sindh government and the NGO.
“Through this joint effort today, JPMC is amongst the top 10 centres in the world having two CyberKnifes and Tomotherapy machines and is the only centre on the planet that offers absolutely free cancer treatment with cutting-edge technology to patients regardless of their nationality, religion and ethnicity,” he said.
Murad announces grant to procure latest equipment to ensure free cancer treatment through CyberKnife
He took pride in announcing that the JPMC was the only public sector hospital in the country that offers free PET scan facility for which the private sector charged Rs90,000.
“PET scan and cyclotron at the JPMC is also a joint project of the Sindh government and the Patients’ Aid Foundation, which I had initiated in 2016,” he mentioned.
“CyberKnife unit chief Prof Tariq Mahmood told me that he still has a waiting list of around 2,000 patients,” he said.
He announced that his government would increase the annual grant of the Patients’ Aid Foundation from Rs340 million to Rs540m from the next financial year.
He said that CyberKnife offered curative treatment of cancer internationally for as much as $50,000 to $90,000, which is beyond the reach of a common person.
“Patients from 167 cities of Pakistan and 15 countries have availed this free facility at the JPMC and the number of patients is increasing every day,” he said.
Tracing the history of his foundation’s partnership with the Sindh government at the JPMC, Mushtaq Chhapra said that the service was not possible without the support of the national and international donors.
He also gave details about the construction of the medical complex at the JPMC for which the CM announced that he would provide equipment, and other related materials once the building was completed.
JPMC Executive Director Prof Shahid Rasool thanked the chief minister, donors, and the foundation for their support to make JPMC one of the best health facilities serving ailing humanity.
Speaking on the occasion, Prof Mahmood said that CyberKnife was the best and safest treatment to cure stage 1 prostate cancer compared to surgery.
Prof Tariq said: “At present, CyberKnife unit 1 is an older technology that requires more than an hour for each patient. Whereas, the newer technology to treat a patient require less than 15 minutes and can treat up to 30 patients in a day.”
At this, the chief minister announced a grant equivalent to $4.1 million to replace the old CyberKnife machines and equipment with the latest technology so that patients from all over the country could be benefited.
The programme was attended by CM’s Law Adviser Barrister Murtaza Wahab, Parliamentary Secretary on Health Qasim Siraj Soomro, Health Secretary Zulfiqar Shah, donors and philanthropists.
Published in Dawn, February 6th, 2023
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