Project Update: The Clinical Tower at SKMCH&RC, Lahore
In Pakistan, every year it is suspected that nearly a hundred and seventy thousand people fall victim to cancer. Being a developing country where the majority do not have access to even elementary health care facilities, this ailment was considered the ultimate symbol of hopelessness. Even treatable malignancies were mostly diagnosed too late or when even the most expensive treatment could not alter the course of the disease.
Imran Khan, the legendary cricketer of Pakistan, established Shaukat Khanum Memorial Trust which is a charitable organisation established under the Societies Registration Act XXI of 1860 of Pakistan in the memory of his mother Begum Shaukat Khanum (late) who died of cancer. The mission of Shaukat Khanum Memorial Trust was and continues to be:
‘To act as a model institution to alleviate the suffering of patients with cancer through the application of modern methods of curative and palliative therapy irrespective of their ability to pay, the education of health care professionals and the public and perform research into the causes and treatment of cancer’.
Pakistan’s first Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital and Research Centre (SKMCH&RC) was established in Lahore in 1994. The importance of Shaukat Khanum Hospital does not just lie in the fact that it was the first specialised centre for the diagnosis and treatment of cancer in Pakistan, but perhaps, more so for the hope that it symbolises. The Hospital has continued to provide quality cancer care to all segments of society and 75 percent of all its cancer patients seen during a year receive financial support from the Hospital. The Hospital is accredited by the Joint Commission International and thus stands testimony to the fact that the charitable organization is providing free treatment services to underprivileged cancer patients in line with international standards.
Since majority of the patients presenting to the Hospital came from the northern areas of the country, therefore Pakistan’s second SKMCH&RC was constructed in Peshawar in the year 2015 while Pakistan’s third and largest SKMCH&RC is being constructed in Karachi.
Today, the work of the Hospital is known the world over, and has been recognized by the World Health Organization for ‘outstanding work in health development that has extended far beyond the call of normal duties’.
For the year 2021, the annual budget of SKMCH&RC is Rs. 19 billion, a sum which will not only allow us to continue to provide free cancer treatment to over 75% of all cancer patients seen in Peshawar and Lahore, but also to fund the construction of the Clinical Tower in Lahore and the construction of the Hospital in Karachi.
Each year, Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital and Research Centre (SKMCH&RC), Lahore records an increase in patient activity in all clinical areas. Creation of additional physical space at the Hopital has become imperative to meet our ever-increasing workloads. This expansion will greatly enhance the Hospital’s capacity to accept and to treat more cancer patients as well as provide greater opportunities for research, training and education of healthcare professionals. The new Clinical Tower will be equipped with state-of-the-art technology and will be built according to the latest international healthcare standards.
The new Clinical Tower is planned as a seven-level building and will represent the largest expansion the Hospital has witnessed since its inauguration, twenty-five years ago. In addition to augmenting all the existing clinical services, the Clinical Tower will house a new specialized bone marrow transplant unit, new imaging modalities,, a new emergency assessment room, and will also have an entire floor dedicated to pathology services, providing support not only for the Hospital, but also for the growing network of Shaukat Khanum Laboratory Collection Centres all over Pakistan.
The Project Architect recommended certain changes in the original designs that have been reviewed and approved by the relevant authorities. The Project Architect is now preparing the schematic drawings with approved changes. The construction of the Clinical Tower is expected to commence towards the end of 2020 and will be completed within 27 months.