By: Sehrish Wasif
ISLAMABAD: The Minister for Planning Development and Reform inaugurated the new Federal Breast Cancer Screening Centre (FBCSC) building at the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims) on Wednesday.
While addressing a seminar on breast cancer awareness, held at a local hotel, Planning, Development and Reform Minister Ahsan Iqbal said the centre is the need of the hour and will serve as a model for other public hospitals to follow.
He said the government is committed to providing all required financial assistance to make the project a success.
Talking to The Express Tribune, FBCSC Deputy Director Dr Ayesha Ishani said all efforts were under way to complete the project and make it functional in a timely manner.
She said the Pims administration will soon submit a revised PC-1 for the project to the Ministry of Capital Administration and Development Division (CADD) to further extend the project, which includes converting the planned two-storey building into a four-storey building.
She said the total cost of the project is Rs225 million, of which Rs157 million was released last year. From the released amount, Rs75 million was used to purchase two mammography machines and related equipment, while Rs58m was utilised for civil works, she added.
“Pims is striving to turn this dream into a reality, so that women from not only Islamabad, but also AJK, K-P, and G-B can come here for screenings, treatment and to learn about the disease free-of-cost,” Dr Ishani said.
The project was conceived in 2009, but due to the devolution of the health ministry in 2012, the initiative was put on the backburner, she added. It was originally planned as a national-level project, but became a federal one after devolution.
A breast cancer awareness walk was also organised at Pims on Wednesday morning.
Minister of State for CADD Barrister Usman Ibrahim said, “This campaign will go a long way in increasing the awareness level regarding breast cancer.”
He said the disease is curable if detected in the early stages, and suggested that women should immediately visit doctors if they notice any of the symptoms of this disease.
Shaheed Zulifqar Ali Bhutto Medical University Vice-Chancellor Professor Javed Akram said the disease is the leading cause of death among women, with one of every seven women affected.
“Breast cancer can be avoided by adopting healthy lifestyles…breastfeeding by mothers greatly reduces the risk of this fatal disease,” he said.
Visit by Japanese parliamentarians
A delegation of Japanese parliamentarians also visited Pims on Wednesday evening. They assured their continued financial assistance to the hospital in the purchase of new medical equipment such as ventilators, beds and wheelchairs.