KARACHI -Construction work for the new Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital and Research Centre, Karachi, delayed earlier in the year by the COVID-19 pandemic, re-started in September 2020. Work is underway at full pace and the project is expected to be commissioned in less than three years, at a total cost of Rs. 13 billion. In a press-briefing organised in this regard, Dr. Muhammed Aasim Yusuf, the Chief Medical Officer and the Acting Chief Executive Officer of Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital and Research Centres (SKMCH&RC) in Pakistan, shared the latest updates on the status of this project.

Dr. Aasim Yusuf explained the urgent need for more specialised cancer centres in Pakistan. He said there are over a hundred and seventy thousand new cancer cases in Pakistan each year and while “The SKMCH&RC in Lahore and Peshawar continue to provide financially supported treatment to over 75 percent of cancer patients admitted for treatment each year, the huge number of new cancer patients means that we are able to serve only a proportion of those suffering from cancer in Pakistan. The treatment of cancer is often a long and arduous process, with many patients having to make repeated, and expensive, trips over long distances in order to seek treatment. Successful completion of treatment is followed by several years of further visits for follow-up. It is for this reason that our second hospital was constructed in Peshawar, and this is why we have now turned to Karachi, where construction of the third SKMCH&RC will hugely enhance the country’s capacity to treat cancer and provide access to cancer care for ever-increasing numbers of patients. The hospital in Karachi will be the largest tertiary-care cancer centre in Pakistan, with state-of-the-art cancer diagnosis and treatment facilities available under one roof. SKMCH&RC, Karachi, will serve all of Sindh, as well as Southern Baluchistan, and will help to bring cancer care closer to our patients.”

The new Hospital will be located in DHA City, on twenty acres of land. It will open as a fully-functional cancer hospital, with all clinical disciplines in place, and equipped with the latest technology, including state-of-the-art diagnostic facilities as well as the latest in treatment planning and delivery systems. SKMCH&RC in Karachi, at one million square feet of constructed area, is twice the size of the hospital in Lahore, and will have forty-seven outpatient examination rooms, a sixty-six bed chemotherapy facility, four hundred inpatient beds, sixteen operation theatres, and twenty-four intensive care beds.

Commenting on bringing state-of-the-art quality of cancer care to the underprivileged people of Sindh and adjoining areas, Dr. Aasim Yusuf said that “we are committed to providing the best possible care to all our cancer patients and, in line with this vision, we plan to equip the Karachi hospital not only with CT, MRI and PET-CT scanners, but also with a PET-MR system. This new form of hybrid imaging technology, a first for Pakistan, allows diagnosis that is more accurate, with the greater safety and convenience of two scans in one. This commitment to remaining at the cutting edge of technology will help ensure that we continue to enhance our capacity to treat cancer for the entire region”.