Sindh Chief Minister approves $4.1 million to replace old Cyberknife machines with latest technology; enhances grant from Rs.340 million to Rs.540 million to help patients on waiting list
The cancer patients from 167 cities of Pakistan and 15 other countries have availed the free Cyberknife treatment facility at Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Center Karachi and around 2000 patients were currently on its waiting list.
In view of such a situation, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah announced on Sunday a grant equivalent to $4.1 million for Patients Aid Foundation (PAF) to replace the old Cyberknife machines and equipment with the latest technology at Jinnah Post Medical Centre (JPMC) so that patients from all over the country could be benefited.
He announced this grant while speaking at a signing ceremony of the agreement between the Sindh government and the Patients’ Aid Foundation for developing a working partnership at Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC), Karachi for different projects, particularly the Cube knife, at a local hotel.
Murad Shah said that he has been told that the Cyberknife facility has a waiting list of around 2000 patients.
In order to address this grave situation, the chief minister also announced the Enhancement of the Annual Grant to the Patients Aid Foundation from Rs.340 million to Rs.540 million from the next financial year.
Patients’ Aid Foundation (PAF) has been serving the poor and needy patients at the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC) Karachi since 1991.
Shah said that after the devolution of JPMC to the Sindh government, the Patients’ Aid Foundation (PAF) has enhanced its bed capacity from 1100 to 2208 beds for which his government has already notified this new bed strength for the next fiscal year budget for the JPMC.
Chief Minister said that the PAF has installed two Cyberknife and Tomotherapy, which were jointly operated by the Sindh government and the PAF. “Through this joint effort today JPMC is amongst the top 10 centers in the world having two Cyberknifes & Tomotherapy and is the only center on the planet that offers absolutely free cancer treatment with cutting edge technology irrespective of nationality, religion, and ethnicity,” he said.
Shah said that to make this historic partnership formal, the Patients’ Aid Foundation and the Government of Sindh have signed an Agreement for 25 years to operate various facilities at JPMC to further improve the free diagnosis and treatment facilities that would otherwise be beyond the reach of a common person.
According to the Chief Minister, the JPMC is the only public sector hospital in Pakistan that offers free PET-Ct & PET-MR irrespective of the type of cancer. “There is no free PET SCAN facility anywhere in Pakistan,” he said and added that in private healthcare centers, it could cost as much as Rs.90000 per scan.
The CM said that the doctors have told him that a cancer patient requires two to three PET scans during the treatment. “Pet scan and cyclotron at JPMC is also a joint project of the Sindh government and Patients’ Aid Foundation, which I had initiated in 2016,” Shah recalled and said that JPMC entertains the largest number of patients compared to any other center in Pakistan.
The chief minister said that Cyberknife offered curative treatment of cancer internationally for as much as $ 50,000 to $90,000 worldwide which is beyond the reach of the common person. “Patients from 167 cities of Pakistan and 15 countries have availed this free facility at JPMC and the number of patients are increasing every day,” he disclosed.
Cyberknife Unit head Prof Tariq Mahmood speaking on the occasion said that initially, the JPMC was mostly treating brain cancers but due to awareness in Public that Cyberknife was the best and safest treatment to cure stage-1 prostate cancer compared to surgery, therefore the number of patients was increasing at a rapid pace.
Prof Tariq said, “At present Cyberknife, unit-1 is an older technology that requires more than an hour for each patient. Whereas the newer technology to treat a patient requires less than 15 minutes and this unit can treat up to 30 patients in a day.
Parliamentary Secretary on Health Qasim Siraj Soomro, Executive Director JPMC Prof Shahid Rasool and PAF Chairman Mushtaq Chhapra also spoke.
The program was attended by Advisor Law Murtaza Wahab, Secretary Health Zulfiqar Shah, donors and philanthropists. (PR)