ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: A Signing Ceremony for a Letter of Intent (LOI) between the Ministry of NHSR&C and Roche Pakistan, focusing on cancer treatment in Federally Administered Areas, took place at the committee room of Ministry of NHSR&C.
Attendees included Director General Health, Dr. Muhammad Ahmad Kazi, Secretary Health, Mr. Iftikhar Ali Shallwani, Roche’s Area Head, Mr. Adriano Treve, MD Roche, Ms. Hafsa Shamsie, and Swiss Ambassador Mr. Georg Steiner.
Secretary Health, Mr. Iftikhar Ali Shallwani, emphasized the crucial role of public-private partnerships in healthcare, recognizing the complexities of cancer, such as affordability, awareness, stigma, and sustainable treatment options.
Mr. Shallwani expressed gratitude for entities like Roche, acknowledging their role as private healthcare innovators that complement public institutions, and he underscored the critical importance of Roche’s funding proposal for ensuring financial sustainability and comprehensive treatment for deserving cancer patients.
DG Health, Dr. Muhammad Ahmad Kazi, highlighted the increasing cancer incidence in the country, placing a significant burden on individuals, families, and the healthcare system.
He emphasized the government’s challenge to provide adequate, affordable, and accessible cancer care.
Affordability, he noted, remained a major hurdle for Pakistan, and poor awareness of symptoms and treatments, along with risk factors and limited early detection, had led to a concerning rise in cancer cases and mortality.
Many individuals, he explained, were diagnosed at advanced stages, making treatment more challenging and reducing survival rates.
Swiss Ambassador Mr. Georg Steiner emphasized Switzerland’s significance as a trading partner with Swiss giants like Roche operating in Pakistan and praised the breakthrough cancer treatment initiative for its collaborative and knowledge-sharing efforts.
Mr. Adriano Treve, Area Head of Roche for a vast region including Turkey, Russia, Iran, Central Eastern Europe, Central Asia, and the Indian Subcontinent, highlighted Roche’s dedication to Lower & Lower Middle-Income Countries, citing global challenges with 41 million premature deaths from non-communicable diseases.
He commended Pakistan’s collaboration with Roche and noted Roche’s commitment to doubling innovative therapy access in low and lower-middle-income countries by 2026.
Hafsa Shamsie, Roche MD, highlighted Roche’s presence in Pakistan for over four decades, delivering standard of care treatment for various diseases, including cancer.
Patients remained at the core of Roche’s commitment, and in Pakistan, the company had served thousands through innovative medicines.
She expressed gratitude to the government for its support and progressive vision in collaborating for cancer treatment. Overall, the signing ceremony represented a historic milestone in enhancing public-private partnerships overall.