LAHORE - Art is known to have healing powers. Especially for patients suffering from terminal diseases like cancer, an uplifting environment - particularly one that includes art -has been shown to improve response to therapy and lead to better clinical outcomes.

To help create a supportive environment at public sector hospitals, ‘Art for Humanity,’ a joint initiative of the National College of Arts and BF Biosciences, a pharmaceutical company, was inaugurated on Monday at the Cancer Ward of Mayo Hospital by Vice Chancellor of King Edward Medical University Dr Asad Aslam and HE Rodolfo J. Martin Saravia, Ambassador of Argentina. The event was also attended by dignitaries including US Consul General Nina Fyte.

Under the ‘Art for Humanity’ initiative, BF Biosciences, a Pak-Argentine joint venture that produces Hepatitis C treatment and chemotherapy medicines for cancer, is supporting need-based merit scholarships for students at NCA, while the College has set up an annual elective course, under which its third year students will work with the company to uplift the environment in public sector institutions.

On the occasion, NCA faculty coordinator for the elective Qudsia Rahim said that Art for Humanity was a unique project that connected students, artists and faculty to the realities of our community, and helped artists in addressing a genuine social need. The creativity, enthusiasm and eagerness of the students exceeded everyone’s expectations, she added. NCA Principal Sajjad Kausar welcomed this new engagement between the college and the private sector for the uplift of public healthcare facilities.

CEO of BF Biosciences Osman Waheed appreciated the creative spirit and commitment of the NCA faculty and staff, and expressed the hope that this project will not only help improve the environment for cancer patients and their families, it will also set the precedent for a deeper interaction between art and the community at large. The organisers also thanked ICI Paints and Philips Pakistan Limited for their generous support of the project.

KEMU VC Dr Asad and the Argentine Ambassador appreciated this public-private partnership, and expressed the hope that more such collaborations can be fostered between the business sector and art institutions for the public good.

Mayo hospital is the oldest and largest hospital of the country, serving humanity since 1871. It is attached to King Edward Medical University which is Pakistan’s most prestigious and South Asia’s second oldest medical institution. It has almost every specialty in the medical field and is providing medical treatment services to every individual of any race, caste, nationality or status.