Atomic Energy Cancer Hospital (AECH), NORI organized cancer awareness seminar on World Cancer Day under the slogan ‘Close the Care Gap’ followed by an awareness walk here on Saturday.
On this occasion, Chief Guest of the seminar, Dr. Raja Ali Raza Anwar, Chairman Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) inaugurated the ‘Dr. Ahmad Qidwai Block’ at NORI hospital.
Chairman PAEC said, “Pakistan, PAEC and NORI are actively supporting ‘Rays of Hope’ initiative for cancer patients launched by Rafael Mariano Grossi, Director General International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). He added, “Cancer care is the area which makes us hold our heads high in honor and pride due to the satisfaction of paying back to the fellow countrymen and the motherland for what we owe her.” Caretaker Provincial Minister for Primary and Secondary Healthcare Dr. Jamal Nasir was the guest of honor on this occasion who paid rich tributes to services of 19 AECHs including NORI, Dr. Mohammad Faheem, Dr. Humera and hundreds of other unsung heroes who are treating the ailing humanity by lessening their pain. In his address, the minister shared his experience of working with NORI and other PAEC-run hospitals and lauded the professionalism of the staff and officers of the PAEC-run hospitals in diagnosis and treatment of cancer.
Dr. Mohammad Faheem Director NORI, in his welcome address gave a detailed briefing about the hospital. He shared how PAEC’s journey in cancer diagnosis and treatment was started by establishing Atomic Energy Medical Institute in Jinnah Hospital Karachi in 1960s and after every 4-5 years a cancer hospital was established in different provinces of Pakistan. Now there are 19 PAEC- run cancer hospitals in the country. The latest one was inaugurated in Gilgit last year, whereas the 20th cancer hospital is being constructed by PAEC in Muzaffarabad, AJK. He added that PAEC cancer hospitals share major burden of cancer patients in the country which is presently over 80 percent. Dr. Faheem shared that out of 36 cancer care hospitals and facilities in both public and private sectors in the country, 19 are being managed by PAEC which is indeed a great contribution in healthcare. He further shared that NORI was established in 1983 and the cost of its PC-1 stood at around Rs. 21. 73 million.
Dr. Mohammad Faheem, told the audience that since 2007 there has been an alarming increase in number of patients being reported in the hospitals. In year 2022 alone, more than 9000 new cancer patients have reported at NORI which is a horrifying figure. “However, there is silver lining as well since the number of cancer survivors is also on the rise,” he said.
NORI is the only cancer hospital in the country which is equipped with all the latest high precision RT equipment including Cyberknife and Truebeam linear accelerator along with PET CT and Cyclotron. Sharing cancer statistics all over the world he told that over 6 million patients die of cancer caused by the use of tobacco and related products like paan and gutka. In the end, Dr. Humera Mahmood, Head Oncology Department NORI gave concluding remarks. The event ended with distribution of gifts among the childhood cancer survivors of AECH NORI by honorable chief guest which was followed by an awareness walk.