Punjab Health dept, Novartis sign MoU for free healthcare to cancer patients

LAHORE:A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed between the Punjab Health department and Novartis Pharma Pakistan to provide healthcare facilities to the cancer patients.

Under the agreement, a sum of Rs 44 billion will be spent on the treatment of cancer patients during the next five years. The Punjab government will provide Rs 4.40 billion while the

share of Novartis Pharma will be Rs 39.6 billion. A total of nine thousand cancer patients will be benefited from this program.

Punjab Chief Minister Mohammad Shehbaz Sharif was the chief guest of the ceremony which held at Model Town on Thursday.

Secretary Medical Education Najam Shah signed on behalf of the Punjab government while Shafique Ahmed inked the agreement on behalf of the Novartis Pharma Pakistan.

On the occasion, the Chief Minister welcomed the agreement and said that it would benefit the cancer patients. He said 3600 patients had been treated through the continuing program of

Punjab government and Novartis Pharma, adding, “Now we are moving further ahead, this program is very transparent and it has been audited from Ferguson Company.”

The volume of this program was Rs. 44 billion with duration of five years and nine thousand cancer patients would be benefitted, he said and added that it was a revolutionary program with far-reaching effects.

Replying to the questions of media, the Chief Minister said that cancers treatment was very expensive and different institutions were working for its treatment in Punjab. Provision of best healthcare and educational facilities to the citizens was the responsibility of the state, he added.

He said the Punjab government was setting up Pakistan Kidney & Liver Transplant Institute to treat kidney and liver cancer.

He said that unique steps had been adopted for the improvement of health sector.

During the last 70 years, the political and dictatorial governments did not perform their duties nor did the institutions play their role, he said and added the PML-N government ensured transparent utilization of resources and transparency was the hallmark of the PML-N.

To a question, he said that Pakistan of today was much better than Pakistan of October 12, 1999. The dictatorial regime, its puppet governments and the subsequent governments plunged the country to crises and promoted darkness due to lack of electricity, he added.

He said, “The credit goes to the PML-N government and Nawaz Sharif that we have worked day and night to end energy crises and time is near when the darkness of load-shedding will be removed and we will sell additional electricity to India, Afghanistan and Iran.”

“The country was succumbed to terrorism and fanaticism during nine years long dictatorship and we have overcome the genie of terrorism and fanaticism to maximum extent. Though, it is a proof of political commitment of the political government,” he added. However, he said, the officers and jawans of the Pakistan Army, police as well as the security institutions had given their blood for it and it was a story of great sacrifices.

He said the nation had been facing consequences of wrong decisions made during the 70 years but it was time to move further with hard work and

commitment instead of repenting on past mistakes.

To a question, he said the Punjab government extended sincere offer to help the brothers and sisters suffering from dengue in Peshawar and sent teams of doctors, nurses and paramedical staff besides dispatching mobile hospital there. “These teams helped our brothers and our ministers also went to Peshawar to extend support. We have given maximum support but their

government asked us to leave so we have left but whenever they will recall us we shall be available to them for their service,” the Chief Minister said.

To a question, Shehbaz Sharif said that the network of hepatitis filter

clinics was being extended to the whole of Punjab to provide best treatment to the patients, adding, “In addition to it, best treatment facilities of hepatitis are being given in hospitals because if steps are not taken to eradicate this disease today, then we will have to spend much more resources in future.”

He said that effective steps had been taken to eliminate spurious drugs and high-quality medicines were being provided in public sector hospitals. There was no dearth of resources for maintaining peace and provision of education, healthcare and other basic facilities, he said and added, “It is the duty of our colleagues and line departments to ensure transparent utilization of resources provided for best of the best healthcare facilities to the people.”

To a question, he said students were joining government schools

from private schools and the reason was their steps taken for the promotion of quality education. He said though private schools were playing important role for the promotion of education but they would not be allowed to make any undue raise in fee.

To a question, he said that when he went to Government Recep Tayyip Hospital, he noticed that the hospital was neat and clean. The Punjab government was providing resources for the hospital and Pakistanis were working there which were also present in other public sector hospitals, but management was the only difference.

He said that YDA consisted of sons and daughters of the nation who should serve the ailing humanity instead of going on strikes.

To a question, he said that PEEF was started in 2008 and stipends amounting to Rs. 12 billion had been distributed among intelligent students.

“This country belongs to the poor as much as to the ruling elite, he said and added “We are needed to make this country a Pakistan of Quaid and Iqbal.”

He congratulated the nation and the cancer patients over the successful continuity of ongoing program between Punjab government and Novartis Pharma and signing of new agreement and said that this program would prove very useful.

Provincial Ministers Kh. Salman Rafique, Kh. Imran Nazir, Advisor Dr. Umer Saif, Chief Secretary, health secretaries, health experts and others were also present on the occasion.