Project Update: Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital and Research Centre, Karachi

SKMT Background:

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 and almost certain death. 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, 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 succumbed to 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 cancer patients receive financial support every year.

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 construction for Pakistan’s third SKMCH&RC is underway.

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’. Both our hospitals are accredited by the Joint Commission International and thus stand testimony to the fact that the charitable organisation is providing free treatment services to underprivileged cancer patients in line with international standards.

Due to the increasing cost of providing cancer care in line with international recommendations and the upcoming construction of Pakistan’s third Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital and Research Centre in Karachi and the Clinical Tower in Lahore, we have a very challenging budget of Rs. 19 Billion for the year 2021 and need all your support to continue with our mission of fighting cancer.

Project Overview:

The treatment of cancer is often a long process, and many patients from Southern Pakistan (Sindh and Baluchistan) 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 bring cancer care closer to patients, Pakistan’s third Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital and Research Centre is being constructed in Karachi. This will be the largest and most modern cancer facility in Pakistan.

The project is located on 20 acres of land in the Defence Housing Authority’s DHA City Project. Construction of SKMCH&RC, Karachi is underway at full pace and the facility is expected to open within three years of the commencement of construction work by December 2023 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
  • Radiology
  • Anaesthesiology
  • Internal Medicine
  • Nuclear Medicine
  • Pathology
  • Medical Physics

The new Hospital will open as a fully functional cancer hospital, with all clinical disciplines in place, and equipped with the latest technology, including state-of-the-art diagnostic facilities as well as the latest in treatment planning and delivery systems. It will have forty-seven outpatient examination rooms, a sixty-nine bed chemotherapy facility, two hundred and eighty-eight inpatient beds, sixteen operation theatres, and twenty-four intensive care beds.

Project Update:

Construction of Pakistan’s third Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital and Research Centre, in DHA City, Karachi, is progressing according to the planned project timelines. As we go into print, structural work on the lower ground, ground and first floor are close to completion. The lower ground floor will house the clinical and radiation oncology department, which has ten bunkers for radiation machines and the department of nuclear medicine. The radiology department, the outpatient clinics, the emergency assessment unit, pharmacy and cafeteria will be located on the ground floor and the first floor will house the chemotherapy bays, the bone marrow transplant unit, the endoscopy unit, the pathology lab and the blood bank.

Even during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, SKMCH&RC remains committed to bringing state-of-the-art and comprehensive cancer care closer to patients, especially for the people of Sindh and Southern Balochistan. The third Hospital is being constructed based on our experience of running two tertiary care cancer centres for over two decades, according to international healthcare standards. It will be equipped with the latest in medical technology and staffed by highly trained professionals. The new hospital will continue the legacy of SKMCH&RC in Lahore and Peshawar, and all patients will receive the best possible curative and palliative therapy, irrespective of their ability to pay.

It is expected that the hospital will be completed and operational by December 2023.