PESHAWAR: Chief Minister Mahmood Khan has approved the second revision of project for treatment of poor cancer patients in the province.
Now, at least 5,353 cancer patients will get free treatment in addition to 3,615 patients already getting the facility.
The approval for revision of the project "Treatment for Poor Cancer Patients" for the year 2019-20 to 2021-22 came during the PDWP meeting having financial implications of Rs4.9 billion.
The project was initially started in the year 2010-11 with a total cost of Rs578 million and was limited to treatment of blood cancer patients only. Under the first phase, 810 patients in the province received treatment for three years. The second phase of the project was approved by the PDWP in 2016 with the total cost of Rs599 million and catering to the treatment needs of additional 445 blood cancer patients only.
However the second phase was revised and provisions were made to cover up to 4,000 patients with any type of cancer and to include new medicine. Accordingly, the budget allocation was also increased to Rs1.9 billion.
While approving the second revision of the project, Chief Minister Mahmood stated that new and effective anti-cancer medicines have been added and the scope of project has been extended in order to cover all the patients currently on waiting list.
"Around 3,615 patients are currently getting free treatment and after the revision 5,353 additional patients will be able to avail free treatment facilities" Mahmood said.
A Patient Relationship Management System has also been added under which patients will be able to contact the 'doctor on call' from their place of residency in case of emergencies, he said.
CM furthered that extension and widening the scope of the project is a landmark achievement of the present government and the health department.
Figures made available by the health department indicate that the 5 year survival rate of patients treated so far is up to 80%. Additionally, 12 doctors are preparing for their FCPS in medical oncology and after the completion of their specialisation, they will be deputed to provide free treatments in all the cities of the province at the convenience of patients.
Cost sharing mechanism with pharmaceutical companies has ensured the success of the project and the extension of medical oncology services at Mingora, Abbottabad and DI Khan during the next three years is also on the cards so that patients can get the treatment they need at their door steps, he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 7th, 2019.