Mammography machine out of order in Lahore

LAHORE: A mammography machine at the first public sector breast cancer screening centre at Lady Aitcheson Hospital is out of order for the last three weeks.

Constructed at an approximated cost of Rs90 million, the breast cancer screening centre was inaugurated in October 2017 by the previous Punjab government.

Officials revealed that a mammography machine, which aids in the early detection and diagnosis of breast related diseases, is out of order for the last three weeks. In addition to this, other machines that were also imported from abroad are out of order as well. As a result, many of the women who travel from far-flung areas and districts to avail treatment facilities are left disappointed.

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“In the absence of the mammography machine, we are merely listening to the patient’s complaints while giving them a check-up. There is no other machine that can help us in identifying the presence or the nature of the disease,” said a senior official working at the hospital while requesting anonymity.

“There are many other problems at the centre; some of the other machines are also not working. But without the mammography machine, we cannot identify the presence or the extent of the disease in patients,” he stressed.

The incidence of breast cancer is rapidly increasing. According to a survey, around 1.9 million women in the country are suffering from breast cancer.

Among these, 40,000 succumb to this illness, stated a senior doctor working at Lady Aitcheson Hospital.  “It is extremely heart breaking to see the one and only facility catering to breast cancer patients in complete disarray. Especially since the Punjab health director general, the executive district officer health and the specialised health secretary are aware of the issues.”

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Despite the claims made by doctors and officials working at the facility, the hospital administration maintains that the mammography machine is currently under repair, which could take up to two weeks.

When contacted by The Express Tribune, the Punjab Health Director General Dr Munir Ahmed stated that he was not at liberty to discuss the issues as the responsibility to oversee matters at Lady Aitcheson Hospital does not fall with him.

“You should ask the specialised health secretary about this issue, he added.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 9th, 2018.

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