Work on Rs225m state-of-art facility in full bloom

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PIMS breast cancer screening centre to be functional in 2017

Zubair Qureshi

Islamabad—Despite all its challenges like overwhelming number of patients, capacity issues of the staff, shortage of doctors and paramedics, Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) is still the best public sector healthcare institute of the region and caters to the patients belonging not only to the federal capital and the adjacent city of Rawalpindi but also AJK, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab. It is one of the region’s leading tertiary level hospitals.
Established in 1985, PIMS includes five semi-autonomous hospitals including the 600-bed Islamabad Hospital (IH), the 230-bed Children’s Hospital specializing in pediatric care, 145-bed Maternal & Child Health Care (MCH) which specializes in obstetrics and gynaecology, 20-bed Burn Centre and 100-bed Cardiac Centre.
The latest feather in its cap is going to be the state-of-the-art Federal Breast Cancer Screening Centre that will be the first of its kind in the country with latest treatment facilities and surgical as well as diagnostic equipment. Pakistan Observer in an exclusive interview with Prof Dr Ayesha Isani Majeed who is Deputy Project Director of the centre and Associate Professor of Radiology, Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Medical University (SZABMU) or PIMS came to know the salient features of the under construction breast cancer screening centre.
According to Dr Ayesha, Rs225 million project was earlier a national programme and the amount to be spent on it was around Rs420 million. However, after devolution it was restricted to federal level and the budget was also cut to around half of the total estimate.
“The Breast Cancer Screening Centre will be providing the state-of-the-art facilities to over 2 million population of the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) area,” said Dr Isani. About the incidence of breast cancer in Pakistani women she said one in every 7 women is diagnosed with breast cancer and it is mandatory for every mature woman to undergo test at least once in a year. About the breast cancer screening centre, Dr Ayesha said we would make sure that every woman above 45 year will have a screening and other tests like Mammography, Ultrasound, Biopsy and FNAC (Breast fine needle aspiration cytology).
It will indeed be a state-of-the-art screening centre and before its launch, we will have awareness lectures at schools and colleges, she said. Dr Ayesha Isani credits PIMS Vice Chancellor Dr Javed Akram for speedy work on the project and thinks by June 2017 the building will be completed. “This doesn’t mean that we are not providing screening and other test facilities to the patients in the absence of the infrastructure. We have already imported equipment and reserved a couple of rooms in Radiology centre for such tests, she said.
The breast cancer screening centre, however, will be a complete package for the patients diagnosed with breast cancer. It will be 4-floor building with surgery ward on 3rd floor and oncology on the 4th, she said.
Dr Isani emphasized awareness lectures and seminars in public and private educational institutions for girls since incidence of breast cancer is alarmingly high in our country and the disease is not sparing even the younger age group. Women in Pakistan tend to die at higher rates than in more developed countries because the disease is generally detected when it is in its advance stages,” she said. She added that keeping in view poor outcome associated with late diagnosis of the disease, we want to help women by increasing awareness regarding early detection of breast cancer. “We need to educate women about self-examination and the need to see a doctors if they feel a breast lump,” she said. She hoped the breast cancer screening centre will greatly help in diagnosis and treatment and help reduce number of deaths caused by breast cancer.

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