Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has announced a grant equivalent to $4.1 million for the Patients Aid Foundation (PAF) to replace the old Cyberknife machines and equipment with the latest technology at the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC) so that patients from all over the country could be benefited.
Murad was speaking at the signing ceremony of the agreement t between the Sindh government and the Patients Aid Foundation for developing a working partnership at Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC), Karachi, for different projects, notably the Cube knife here at a local hotel on Sunday.
The program was attended by Adviser Law Murtaza Wahab, Parliamentary Secretary Qasim Soomro, Secretary Health Zulfiqar Shah, Executive Director JPMC Prof Shahid Rasool, and donors and philanthropists. The CM said that he had been told that the Cyberknife facility has a waiting list of around 2,000 patients.
To address this grave situation, the chief minister also announced an enhancement of the annual grant to the Patients Aid Foundation from Rs340 million to Rs540 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 1,100 to 2,208 beds for which his government has already notified this new bed strength for the next fiscal year budget for the JPMC.
The CM said that the PAF has installed two Cyberknife and Tomotherapy, which were jointly operated by the Sindh govt and 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 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 an ordinary 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 Rs90,000 per scan.
The CM said that the doctors have told him that a cancer patient may require 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 most significant number of patients compared to any other center in Pakistan.
To address this grave situation, I am announcing the approval of the Enhancement of the Annual Grant to the Patients Aid Foundation for the year 2023-24 from Rs340 million to Rs540 million. The chief minister said that Cyber knives 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 is 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’ require less than 15 minutes this unit can treat up to 30 patients in a day.”
At this, the chief minister announced funds equivalent to $4.1 million as a grant in aid to the Patients Aid Foundation to replace the old Cyberknife with the latest model of Cyberknife at JPMC Karachi so that patients from all over the country could be benefited.
Parliamentary Secretary on Health Qasim Siraj Soomro, speaking on the occasion, said that the provincial government under chief minister Murad Ali Shah has not developed health facilities all over the province where quality treatment was being provided free of cost. Executive Director JPMC Prof Shahid Rasool thanked the chief guest, the chief minister, the donors, and the PAF for their unflinching support to make JPMC one of the world’s best health facilities serving ailing humanity irrespective of any discrimination.
PAF Chairman Mushtaq Chhapra traced the history of his partnership with the Sindh government at JPMC and said that the service was not possible without the support of national and international donors. He also gave details about the construction of the Medical Complex at JPMC for which the CM announced that he would provide equipment, and other related materials once the building was completed.