The Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) health department has decided to provide free radiotherapy and chemotherapy to cancer patients in the province.
The government has suggested four centres to provide cancer facilities; Institute of Radiotherapy and Nuclear Medicine (IRNUM) and Hayatabad Medical Complex in Peshawar, and Ayub Medical Complex and Institute of Nuclear Medicine Oncology and Radiotherapy in Abbottabad.
Initially, a sum of Rs500 million was sanctioned for the programme, but the government may increase the amount depending on the number of patients.
“The programme titled ‘Begum Nusrat Bhutto Oncology Services K-P’ has been approved by the health department and the medical institutions concerned. “It now needs to be approved by the provincial cabinet,” IRNUM Director Dr Muhammad Rauf Khattak told The Express Tribune.
He added that soon advertisements will be placed in national newspapers in order to buy the required equipment. “It will be a big step from the government’s side to facilitate all patients who cannot afford cancer treatment,” he said.
“We are already providing free medicines to cancer patients and the new programme is expected to help them further since radiotherapy and chemotherapy are very costly,” said K-P Health Department Director General Dr Sharif Ahmad Khan.
He further said that due to lack of awareness, patients do not get themselves checked, which worsens their situation. He stressed the need for consulting these centres in the initial stages of the disease.
Health Special Secretary Dr Noorul Iman said executive and steering committees have been made to manage the programme and it is expected to start within two months.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 14th, 2012.
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