ISLAMABAD: Chief Minister Balochistan Jam Kamal Khan on Tuesday laid the foundation stone of the first cancer treatment facility in the country’s southwestern province to benefit people suffering from the chronic disease.
Located at Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Hospital, the 40-bed, state-of-the-art cancer center will have four wards offering modern health services to patients, authorities said.
The facility will also have 14 private rooms and two inpatient care and physiotherapy halls for male and female patients.
The cancer facility will be built at the cost of Rs.1557.658 million with an allocation of Rs100 millions for civil work and equipment.
Addressing the grounding breaking ceremony, the chief minister said that the medical facility was a gift to the people of the province on World Cancer Day.
“We are gifting this hospital to our people on World Cancer Day,” he said. “We are making sure to provide all health facilities to cancer patients under one roof of the cancer block of Shaikh Zayed Hospital,” he said, adding that a child cancer unit would also be established with the help of Indus Hospital Karachi.
“The people have to sell their properties for cancer treatment [due to poverty], making it difficult for them even to aspire for a cure,” he said. “We have to treat our cancer patients in the province.”
The health indicators in the sparsely populated Balochistan province are not as good as other federating units of the country. According to a report, about 35,000 cancer patients from Balochistan undergo treatment in the country’s major urban centers where medical facilities and accommodation charges are usually too high for them.
“It is a longstanding demand of the people of Balochistan, and the provincial government has finally managed to fulfill it,” Balochistan government’s spokesperson Liaquat Shahwani told Arab News, adding: “The government has allocated Rs1 billion for the current Public Sector Development Program for the establishment of the health care facility.”
Prof. Dr. Roohullah, a former professor at the Center for Nuclear Medicine and Radiotherapy (CENAR), Quetta, maintained that the cancer center was a positive step.
He said that the support of other departments of Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Hospital would make the center “a complete medical facility which the province has needed for a long time.”
Calling the establishment of cancer health care facility in Quetta commendable, Secretary General of Pakistan Medical Association (PMA), Dr. SM Qaisar Sajjad, said the center should have qualified doctors who have the facility to conduct surgeries, chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
“It comes a bit late, but it’s highly commendable,” Sajjad told Arab News, urging PM Imran Khan to use his expertise of Shaukat Khanam Hospital and establish state-of-the-art hospitals in the capitals of all four provinces.
‘‘Cancer needs timely treatment, but even in cities like Karachi we see many people waiting for their turns for chemotherapy and radiotherapy. In Quetta, where there is no cancer hospital at present, the situation is even worse,” he said, adding: “In such a scenario, this is great step.”