ISLAMABAD:Prime Minister Imran Khan said the government had inherited the country in the toughest circumstances with a record foreign debt and huge economic deficit, which, however, would emerge as the fastest growing state in the region.
“We inherited Pakistan in the most difficult circumstances with the biggest ever debts and huge economic deficit. But I will prove that Pakistan would grow the fastest in the whole region,” he said addressing a fundraiser here for Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital.
He said the people of Pakistan having a distinctive passion for charity were in fact a hope for the country’s prosperity.
Referring to the meeting of opposition leaders which took place in the federal capital, the prime minister said those who were gathering in name of safeguarding the democracy were in fact the only cause for the country’s backwardness.
The event was attended by a huge number of businessmen from the twin cities, office-bearers of the chambers of commerce and industry, and people from different walks of life who donated generously for the noble cause.
The prime minister, who is also Chairman of the Shaukat Khanum Memorial Trust, said it was pleasing that despite difficult economic conditions, the people of Pakistan had broken their own record of donations for the cancer hospital.
Following the appeal by the prime minister, the donations worth above Rs 200 million had poured in.
The prime minister said charity was the biggest strength of Pakistani nation what could take the country to new heights if harnessed properly.
He said the SKMCH of Lahore had been awarded certification of Joint Commission International what was considered as the gold standard in global health care. By next month, the SKMCH of Peshawar would also get the same accreditation, he added.
He said the SKMCH was the only cancer hospital that was being purely run on donations where 70 percent of patients were getting free cancer treatment.
Recalling his journey to build the cancer hospitals, he said the work on Lahore’s SKMCH was started with only Rs 10 million in hand against the project cost of Rs 700 million. But the work was successfully accomplished consequent to the public support putting all discouraging notions to rest.
He said the SKMCH in Peshawar was the most modern healthcare facility in north of Lahore up to Afghanistan. Work on another cancer hospital in Karachi had also been started, he added.
Chief Executive Officer and Consultant Physician of SKMCH Dr Faisal Sultan told the audience that it (SKMCH) was the biggest cancer hospital in the country.
Sharing the data, he said in 2018, 9,878 new cancer patients were registered at the hospital and the number of the outdoor patients was 247,508. Around 15,779 patients underwent surgical procedures and 13,213 were admitted while 47,669 had chemotherapy sessions.