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ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Ahsan Iqbal on Thursday announced a decision to revive a project envisaging establishment of the first state-of-the-art cancer hospital in Islamabad, which was shelved by the previous government.

The minister made the announcement through a message on Twitter, which said: “Insh’Allah Cancer Hospital in Islamabad will be revived soon.”

The project involving a 200-bed cancer hospital was approved during the tenure of previous Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government for which the authorities had sanctioned Rs 5 billion under the Public Sector Development Programme.

The hospital was supposed to benefit 7,000 poor patients annually, but the previous government led by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf scrapped the project in January 2019.

The project was ready for launch then and the PWD had prepared a design for the construction of a building by allocating land for it on the premises of the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences. During the PML-N tenure, even maps had been approved and consultants also hired for the project. But suddenly, on the directive of former prime minister Imran Khan, the project was shelved.

Ahsan Iqbal said that the previous government had shelved several public interest projects initiated by the PML-N government due to political reasons; as a result people suffered a lot.

However, he said that the incumbent government will revive all the pending projects in the best interest of the public. “Our top priority is to facilitate the public by reviving the pending projects,” he added.

According to experts, Pakistan faces a severe shortage of cancer treatment facilities and only 10,000 to 15,000 patients can be treated annually.

The Health Research Institute, the country’s state-run health statistics agency, has said about 2.5 million new cases of cancer emerge annually and 100,000 of the patients die.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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