KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah has said that as private sector treatment of cancer patients is very costly and unaffordable for low-income patients, his government was working towards establishing cancer treatment facilities in the public sector. According to the CM, the provincial government is also subsidising the cost of treatment offered in hospitals operating as welfare institutions.
Shah said this on Monday while addressing a delegation of the Cancer Foundation. The delegation, led by the foundation's chairperson, Maqsood Ansari, included engineer Haji Nazim and surgeon Abid Jamal. The CM's Principal Secretary Sajid Jamal Abro and Health Secretary Saeed Awan also attended the meeting.
The CM was apprised that 40 radiation machines were needed in Karachi but there were barely a few available in the city, causing patients to wait for one to two months for treatment in welfare hospitals.
Shah said that his government, in partnership with philanthropists and the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC) had established the Cyber Knife Centre at JPMC and claimed it was functioning successfully. Besides, he added, his government was financially supporting various health facilities engaged in serving the underprivileged with the help of philanthropists. He assured the delegation that he would support the Cancer Foundation for the procurement of Bone Marrow Transplant (BMT) machines.
The meeting discussed that the treatment offered at private hospitals was too costly and beyond the means of low-income patients. The treatment cost around Rs1.2m and though welfare hospitals offered it at a subsidised cost of Rs200,000, it was still difficult for the underprivileged to afford. The meeting was also apprised that private hospitals charged Rs7,000 for radiation while welfare hospitals offered it at Rs1,000.
Shah directed the health secretary and the Cancer Foundation to coordinate with the finance secretary and purchase radiation machines for low-income cancer patients.
"We are committed to the people of the province and would provide free of cost treatment to cancer patients," proclaimed Shah, adding that cancer hospitals following the model of National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases (NICVD) would be established in different districts of the province.
Meanwhile, a delegation of the Dawoodi Bohra Jamat, led by Kumail Younis, also met with Shah at Chief Minister's House and invited him to visit the crest of Al Jameatus Saifiya in North Nazimabad.
Shah accepted the invitation while remarking that the Dawoodi Bohra Jamaat had played a significant role in national development. The CM also extended an invitation to the spiritual leader of the Jamaat, Dr Syedna Mufadal Saiffuddin, asking him to visit Karachi. "Two years have passed since his last visit, he should visit Karachi again," said the CM, asking the delegation to forward his invitation to the spiritual leader.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 3rd, 2019.
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