LAHORE - Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital is just one institution with certain capacity that cannot cater to the requirements of such huge number of cancer patients diagnosed annually in Pakistan, said Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of SKMCH Dr Faisal Sultan.

“More than 150,000 case of cancer are diagnosed every year in the country. Nearly 60,000 patients come to us for evaluation annually and we accept about 6-7000 new cases. SKMCH already treats huge number of patients from not just all over Pakistan but from neighboring Afghanistan as well. More than 94 per cent of the patients are fully or partially supported. Out of these supported patients, more than 90 per cent are fully supported”, said leading expert in infectious diseases who is working with the institution since 1995.

“The country needs more institutions like SKMCH that is why we have opened hospital in Peshawar and will open another one in Karachi. Still more are needed to cater to the requirement of such huge population”, Dr Faisal Sultan said.

SKMCH Lahore is fully functional since December 1994; currently with 200 beds and newly-built Endoscopy Unit.

Peshawar hospital, opened two years ago, is treating solid tumors with chemotherapy and radiation facility.

Concept plans have been done and work on Karachi hospital would start within 2-3 months.

Presently, walk in clinics are operational in Lahore, Karachi, Peshawar and Multan.

This year the operating budget of SKMCH is Rs11 billion. Bulk of the budget, Rs10 billion, will be spent on providing diagnostic and treatment facilities at SKMCH Lahore.

The Karachi hospital and clinical tower Lahore will complete over the next three years and will require significant additional funding.

There are two types of raising funds: 50% through hospitals own services, eg laboratory, radiology and some clinical services (paying cancer patients etc). There are 173 lab collection points including recently set up 24 in Karachi.

The remaining amount is generated through fundraising, Zakat, donations and campaigns like Sadqa, launched this year.

Dr Faisal Sultan said that awareness campaign was a regular feature of SKMCH activities. SKMCH conducts various awareness campaigns all-round the year such as breast cancer and anti-tobacco campaigns. “Our teams go to different universities, colleges, schools regularly. We also use public service messages as tools for awareness”, he said.

Referring to recently launched Sadqa campaign, he said that everyone can donate as it starts from just Rs20. Pakistan has a population of almost 200-210 million and even if half donate Rs20 each, it can help in creating the funds required.