KARACHI - Children Cancer Hospital (CCH) has become the only charity-based health facility in the country with 55 per cent survival rate. Average treatment cost of a child suffering from cancer varies from Rs 150,000/- to Rs800,000/- depending on the age and type of of the disease. Cancer is becoming a major cause of mortality in children and it has been estimated that about 5,000 to 6,000 kids catch the disease every year in Pakistan. Children with cancer disease can still lead a normal life, said Dr Summaiya Syed Tariq of CCH while talking to The Nation on the occasion of World Health Day here on Tuesday. World Health Day was celebrated yesterday to raise awareness on a key global health issue. The CCH is a brainchild of Dr M Shamvil Ashraf, the chief executive of the hospital. It was set up by Children Cancer Foundation Pakistan Trust to provide quality treatment to every child irrespective of his/her paying ability, to create awareness about childhood cancer and to develop human resources in this specialty. Children Cancer Hospital is a premier facility exclusively dedicated to the care of children suffering from cancer. A group of doctors, philanthropists, social workers and parents of patients formed the Children Cancer Foundation in December 1999 which has become Children Cancer Foundation Pakistan Trust since July 2005, she added. Dr Summaiya further said that Pakistan is a developing country with a population of about 160 million people out of which 45 per cent are under 15 years of age. Although malnutrition and communicable diseases are still the major killers, cancer is becoming an important cause of morbidity and mortality in children, she added. The childhood cancer is more often diagnosed now due to better diagnostic facilities and availability of treatment centres; cancer among children is fortunately less common than in adults accounting for 3 to 5 per cent of all cases, Dr Summaiya said. Despite the financial crunch, at the hospital more than 50 per cent children are treated free of cost, 35 per cent pay partially while only 15 per cent are full paying patients. The foundation has so far spent Rs 136 million on diagnosis and treatment of more than 1,500 children suffering from cancer and blood diseases. Only Rs 32 million, which is 23.5 per cent of total expenses, have been charged from patients while more than 500 kids have completed their treatment and are enjoying normal healthy life and going to school. Talking about the causes of cancer, she said that cancer could not spread from one child to another, while there was no known cause for most childhood cancer. At least 95 per cent of the cancers in children occur spontaneously while most of them are curable, she mentioned. Meanwhile, Provincial Minister for Health, Dr Saghir Ahmed, has said that transfusion medicine was an important component with regard to human health and present government would extend all possible assistance in this regard. He was speaking at a Transfusion Medicine Training Course, jointly organised by Hussaini Blood Bank and Professional Development Centre of Dow University of Health Sciences on Tuesday. The minister also led a walk on the occasion of World Health Day, organised by the health department, from Karachi Press Club to Sindh Assembly building. Similarly, the United Nations Association of Pakistan (UNA) also observed the World Health Day at Dow University of Health Sciences on Tuesday. Every year, the UNA Pakistan organises international, regional and local events on World Health Day. This year the World Health Day has been dedicated to improve health facilities in emergencies.