KARACHI, Nov 5: Speakers at a special “Fun and Food” programme for cancer patients on Monday urged the philanthropists to come forward and help mitigate the sufferings of the ailing humanity.

The programme was organized by artist Jimmy Engineer at the JPMC’s institute of radiotherapy.

The experts were of the view that the treatment of cancer was not only lengthy but expensive too and that the government with its meagre resources could not meet the ever-increasing expenses, so philanthropists should come forward and donate generously so that the poor patients could also get an improved medical cover.

They said currently the government was providing around Rs 1.6 million a year for medicines while over Rs 5 million were being provided by some NGOs. They said if the government provided around Rs 10 million more, the hospital could provide a better health-care to patients without facing any financial constraints.

They said hospital equipment that was purchased decades back had become obsolete and funds were needed for the purchase of latest equipment so that patients could get a comparatively better treatment with the use of latest technology.

They said that the Cancer Society provides financial assistance to patients for medicines, etc while other NGOs such as Behbood, and Education and Child Health Organisation (ECHO) and others also assist the hospital in different ways.

They said that the Cancer Ward can accommodate around 50 indoor patients (25 men and 25 women) at a time where patients are hospitalized for five to seven days, and it costs Rs15,000 to Rs20,000 per patient.

They said between 100 and 150 patients were admitted to the ward every month while around 10 die due to the disease every month.

They urged the people to be sympathetic towards cancer patients so that they did not feel deprived. They said that function was organized to create an awareness among the people about the disease. Stage artist Farzana Naz sang many songs and enthralled the patients.

The cancer ward was established in 1958 with just four beds in the JPMC’s surgical unit while the present department was founded in the 70s.

JPMC director Kazi Abdul Shakoor, Jimmy Engineer, Dr Ahmad Usman, Dr Tehsin Khursheed, Nadira Sohail, Khadija Manzoor and others also spoke.

Dr Ahmed Usman said that an initial amount of Rs11 million is required for the construction of a new building for the Institute and Department of Cancer Radio Therapy at JPMC.