LAHORE: Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has announced free medicines for cancer patients and said the Punjab government would spend Rs 1.5 billion for the purpose under a programme.
Addressing a function in connection with World Cancer Day, the chief minister said that cancer patients and their families have to face a lot of pain and sufferings and the government would make best efforts to ensure that no deserving cancer patient is deprived of medicines.
He also announced construction of a cancer hospital in the province and said the Punjab government would provide land and machinery for the hospital.
He said that health authorities and medical experts should present “practicable recommendations” for the cancer hospital project.
Shahbaz said that he himself had been a cancer patient but by the grace of God and prayers of people, he had recovered now.
Announcing that the cancer hospital project would be executed with the cooperation of NOVARTIS, the chief minister said that agony and hardships faced by cancer patients and their families are not hard to understand.
The chief minister said that God had given him a new life and he feels that it was done so that he might serve people.
Therefore, he added, when in 2010, the worst floods devastated thousands of houses he remained engaged in relief operation for the distressed people as he had realised that the purpose of his life was to serve people.
Similarly, he said, when dengue virus hit Lahore in 2011, Sri Lankan experts told him that it was a very serious problem and 25,000 lives were in danger but it was due to commitment and hard work that “only a few” human lives were lost.
He said that vigorous efforts were made by the government with dedication and zeal and an impossible task was achieved in 2012 and no one died due to dengue during this year.
He said that it was a humanitarian service which he had performed with the help of a team of highly dedicated workers.
The chief minister further said that it is hope that keeps cancer patients alive.
He thanked NOVARTIS and said that provision of free medicines to cancer patients by the company is a big gift which would give them hope.
The chief minister reiterated his resolve to serve the people of province.
Shahbaz said that he had also planned construction of a cancer hospital in the province during his last tenure as chief minister but he was informed that it was not practicable as it involved a lot of expenditure.
He said that on the occasion of World Cancer Day, he is pleased to announce that the Punjab government would provide land and machinery for the cancer hospital project in Lahore.
He said that those who give a ray of hope to poor cancer patients earn the blessings of God.
He said that for the affluent and rich people, treatment is no problem but there is need to think of the common man. He said that it is time to remove flaws in the existing system and make the poor and deserving patients feel that they have equal rights in Pakistan.
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