President stresses upon behavioural change in preventing diseases

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ISLAMABAD, Nov 19 (APP):President Dr Arif Alvi Tuesday stressed upon adoption of a preventive approach as an effective method to ward off a number of communicable and non-communicable diseases.

Unlike the Western countries, majority of the population of Pakistan could not afford costly treatment of life threatening diseases like cancer, he said while addressing as a chief guest in the inaugural event of Pakistan’s first ever cancer protection plan ‘HOPE’, launched jointly by Roche Pakistan and Jubilee Life Insurance.

The president said behavioural changes were must to address health related issues. The country’s population was heavily burdened with communicable diseases, besides others like malnutrition, growth stunting, obesity etc. The people should focus on preventive methods by developing healthy habits, he added.

Dr Alvi underlined the need for a change in the daily life style by developing healthy eating habits which had been affected badly due to the modern day’s pressing requirements.

He observed that about 90 to 95 per cent of oral cancers were preventable and regretted that the issue of breast cancer was widely seen as a social taboo.

The fatal diseases like cancer gradually affected patients and they had to undergo painful stages, he added.

The president said in Pakistan, the survival rate in the breast cancer was 48 to 50 per cent, which was very low when compared to the West.

He linked the issue with lack of awareness among the females and emphasized that they should be encouraged for self-assessment, so that the symptoms of the disease could be diagnosed at the early stage.

The president also referred to the vital role the lady health workers could play across the country to prevent and provide assistance in curing different diseases.

He noted with appreciation the healthcare services provided by the Shaukat Khanum Memorial Hospital.

He also lauded the Roche’s initiative of health call center as the major one in the provision of healthcare facilities by the private sector and assured that the government would extend its cooperation in that regard.

He also cited the government’s initiative of provision of healthcare facilities to the poor families through Sehat Sahulat cards.

The president noted that health insurance was must in a society.

He also urged the companies and other institutions to treat the five percent employment quota for the disabled persons as a positive thing instead of considering it as an act of charity towards them.

The president also handed over Jubilee Life Insurance to renowned actor Adnan Siddiqui and actress-cum-model Veneeza Malik as the first individuals to get the life insurance under the plan.

Under the partnership programme, Jubilee Life would provide protection against a wide range of cancers and offer benefit amounts from 25% of the sum assured for early stage cancer to 100% of the sum assured for the later stage cancer. Premium plan begins from as low as Rs735 per annum and the term can be between 10 to 47 years subject o maximum age of 65 years at maturity.

Earlier, Roche Pakistan Managing Director Farrukh Rehan said the company was not just supplying medicines but also trying around the world to transform the healthcare system.

He said Roche had set up the country’s first cancer registry to collect exact data of the patients, besides a call center for provision of treatment.

Rehan further said they were also working with the Pakistan Bait-ul-Mal to provide free of cost cancer treatment to the poor people.

The Roche was also launching first ever satellite hospital on Wednesday (tomorrow) in Sukkur, Sindh, he added.

He said the country had less than 200 oncologists to treat the ever increasing huge cancer affected patients. According to reports, Pakistan had approximately 170,000 people diagnosed with the disease annually.

Managing Director and CEO Jubilee Life Insurance Javed Ahmed said they set up their network in 2003 and now they had four million people insured including 50 per cent females.

He said the initiative would prove to be crucial support system for all those who unfortunately had to fight the harrowing disease.