Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah inaugurated on Friday the public sector’s first Gamma Knife facility at the Dow University Hospital, in Karachi and announced providing free of charge treatment to patients.
The facility will be used to treat lesions in the human brain. It is said to have been established in record time at a cost of Rs800 million provided by the provincial government.
“This is a very expensive treatment and each procedure or treatment costs Rs250,000, and around 500 procedures are adopted in a year,” Murad said while speaking to the media following the inauguration.
Minister for Health Dr Azra Fazal Pechuho, Parliamentary Secretary for Health Qasim Siraj Soomro, Secretary for Health Dr Kazim Jatoi, Vice Chancellor Dow University Prof Saeed Qureshi and others were also present on the occasion.
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Murad further stated that he had been told that there were more than 400 units installed worldwide, and this was the first Gamma Knife facility in the public sector of the country, which was “something to be proud of”.
“We have established some remarkable facilities in the health sector such as the cyber knife facility at the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical College (JPMC), liver transplant institute at Gambat, and now the Gamma Knife facility at Down University Hospital,” he said.
The chief minister added that the opposition, even then, kept criticising the Sindh government., adding that the provincial government will continue to serve the people of the Sindh.
Murad highlighted that it was the performance of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP)’s government that people had been giving them more and more votes and seats in every election
“I don’t care what our opponents are propagating – we believe in service to the people of the province and upgrading the life of poor people,” he maintained.
Speaking about the procedure, CM said it was a radiosurgery, a very precise form of radiation therapy that focused intense beams of gamma rays with pinpoint accuracy to treat lesions in the brain.
He added that in contrast with its name, the surgery involved neither traditional surgery nor an actual knife.
“Gamma Knife is called a surgery because its outcome is similar to that of a surgical procedure,” he explained.
CM Murad further elaborated that the Gamma Knife Centre was home to the Leksell Gamma Knife Icon, the latest Gamma Knife system.
“This stationary unit delivers beams of highly focused gamma rays and will enable our neurosurgeons and radiation oncologists to provide world-class care,” he added.
“Leksell Gamma Knife Icon has been designed specifically for treating lesions in the brain and has the greatest precision and accuracy of any radiosurgery system to date,” he remarked.
Murad stated that the procedure was painless, bloodless, highly targeted and involved day care treatment, with a patient going back home the same day as the procedure.”
“It can be effective in correcting the defects of the nervous system,” he said.
Speaking on the occasion, Minister for Health Dr Azra Fazal Pechuho said another advantage of the Leksell Gamma Knife Icon was its superior ability to spare healthy brain tissue, compared to other systems.
She added that avoiding unnecessary radiation was particularly important for children, who may be more at risk than adults for late effects from radiation.
Earlier, the CM unveiled the plaque to inaugurate the facility and planted a sapling at the centre.
Gamma Knife method
Gamma Knife radiosurgery is a real form of radiation therapy in which gamma rays are used to treat brain injuries or trauma by targeting the affected area in a very sharp but fine or nucleated form.
This method requires neither conventional surgery nor the use of knives. Its name has been derived from its results that are in accordance with the exact surgery.
Another advantage of the Leksell Gamma Knife Icon is its superior ability to spare healthy brain tissue, as compared to alternative systems.
The surgery for tumor treatment works by damaging or destroying the DNA of tumor cells so that these cells cannot reproduce or grow. Over time, the brain tumor shrinks.
With the help of the Gamma Knife Center, expert neurosurgeons and radiation oncologists will be able to treat the following brain conditions:
Primary brain tumors, in particular:
Acoustic neuroma/Vestibular Schwannoma
Glomus jugulare tumor
Pediatric brain tumors
To a question about the Karachi Circular Railway (KCR), CM Murad termed it the “need of the city”, and added that work on the project had begun. “Rs7 billion are to be spent on the KCR’s PC-1,” he said.
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Speaking about the medical assistance provided to iconic comedian Umer Sharif, he said, “Umer Sharif is an asset of the country; we did him no favour by assisting him.”
Regarding the weather alert for Karachi, the CM noted that there was record rain last year, adding that it had again been raining all night. “By the grace of Almighty, this time, the water did not accumulate anywhere in the city,” he claimed.
Speaking of the tense relations between the Centre and Sindh government, the chief minister stated that the province of Sindh had a lot of potential, which could only be realised if everyone worked together.
However, Murad lamented the statements of the federal ministers, terming them “beyond comprehension”.