No funds for oncology center in Peshawar


PESHAWAR, Aug 14 (TNS): The provincial government is yet to allocate funds for establishment of the Centre for Oncology and Hospice despite approval by the chief minister in 2014, according to relevant sources.

In view of load of cancer patients, the government approved the center and agreed to allocate Rs250 million but despite passing of three years, the patients still suffer due to shortage of space at medical oncology ward of Hayatabad Medical Complex.

The 20-bed ward established in 2006 is admitting about 2,000 patients per year but as many people suffering from various types of the disease require hospitalization for their proper treatment.

In 1999, the first oncology ward was established at Khyber Teaching Hospital that was shifted to HMC in 2006. However, there has been no expansion of services at the ward since then.

According to the plan, HMC had agreed to establish the center and increase number of beds to 40 with 28-bed hospice for the terminally-ill patients at a premises allocated by the hospital.

The proposed hospice was to be the first one of its kind in the country and it was desperately needed to provide supportive treatment to the patients, who were not curable but to improve their lifestyle, said sources.

Currently, patients are admitted in medical wards when the specific ward runs out of beds. The patients are shifted to the ward when beds are available.

Prof Abid Jamil, head of the oncology ward, told that they had planned the center inside HMC because MRI, CT scan and other investigation facilities were available there.

He said that the ward was recognized for specialization by College of Physicians and Surgeons Pakistan due to which doctors were trained there by two qualified consultants. “We are planning to expand the oncology services throughout the province to facilitate patients in their own districts,” he added.

Prof Abid said that a16-bed oncology unit was operational in Abbottabad besides five centers, run by the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission, but owing to increase in flow of patients, there was need to expand the services to provide treatment to the people, who visited the hospitals at curable stage of their ailment.

He said that there were two different free cancer treatment programs. “One is for blood cancer in which 1,850 patients are under treatment while for rest of cancer 750 patients are getting treatment. We have got seven-bed for day care patients, who are sent home after chemotherapy but we need more beds to be able to provide facilities to people to a desired level,” he added.

Prof Abid said that there were 20 per cent increase in new patients per year while the facility was the same. He said that 20 per cent patients were children up to 15 years, who were curable if they consulted doctors at the initial stage of the disease. He added that 65 per cent patients suffered from blood cancer, the causes of which were unknown.

“Every month, we receive 25 patients of blood cancer on average and the number of patients suffering from other types cancer is 100. Patients are coming here to get free treatment due to which we need additional beds and other facilities,” said Prof Abid.