Project Update: Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital and Research Centre, Karachi
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.
Shaukat Khanum Memorial Trust (SKMT) aims to provide top quality diagnostic and treatment facilities to cancer patients, irrespective of their ability to pay. The inauguration of the Shaukat Khanum Diagnostic Centre and Clinic in Karachi, in 2010, was the first step towards bringing cancer care facilities closer to the people of Karachi. In continuation of this vision, the Trust has now embarked on its latest project, to establish Pakistan’s third Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital and Research Centre (SKMCH&RC), in Karachi. We are delighted to be able to announce this long-awaited project, which has been made possible by the purchase, at advantageous rates, of 20 acres of land from the Defence Housing Authority, in their DHA City project.
The new project in Karachi was officially inaugurated at a groundbreaking ceremony, held on the construction site in the DHA City on December 29, 2016. In keeping with our tradition, the groundbreaking was performed by a cancer patient, Waleed Ahmed from Jamshoro. The Chairman of the Trust, Mr. Imran Khan, members of the Board of Governors of SKMT, senior management of the Hospital, and a large number of donors and guests attended this event and pledged their support.
The treatment of cancer is often a long process, and many patients from Southern Pakistan cannot afford to make repeated physically, emotionally, and financially demanding trips to seek treatment at our existing facilities in Lahore and Peshawar. Therefore, in line with our mission to act as a model institution to alleviate the suffering of cancer patients of the region through the application of modern methods of curative and palliative therapy, Pakistan’s third Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital and Research Centre will be built in Karachi. Here, we hope to continue our tradition of providing the best possible cancer care to all our patients, irrespective of their ability to pay. The construction of a comprehensive cancer centre in Karachi will not only provide state-of-the-art cancer care facilities to the people of Sindh and adjoining areas, but it will also help to enhance healthcare standards and to develop training and employment opportunities in the wider region as a whole.
In line with its mission to ensure access to the poor, over 75% of our cancer patients receive free cancer care and this will continue in Karachi. We expect to complete the project over a three-year time-frame, at an estimated cost of Rs. 13 billion, with the Hospital planned to open as a fully-functional cancer hospital with all the essential clinical and support departments one would expect of a facility of this nature. These include:
- Medical Oncology
- Paediatric Oncology
- Clinical and Radiation Oncology
- Surgical Oncology
- Internal Medicine
- Nuclear Medicine
The Hospital will be equipped with the latest cancer care technology, including state of the art diagnostic facilities, radiation treatment planning and delivery systems, and will have forty-seven outpatient examination room, a sixty-six bed chemotherapy facility, one hundred and seventy five inpatient rooms, sixteen operation theatres, and twenty-four rooms for intensive care.
The site preparation for the construction of SKMCH&RC, Karachi has completed. The technical evaluation of bids is underway by the Project Consultant. Construction is planned to commence by mid of March 2020. SKMCH&RC in Karachi, a multi-level facility, is expected to open doors to the patients within three years of the commencement of construction work as a fully functional cancer hospital, with all the essential clinical and support departments one would expect of a facility of this nature.