Thanks to a number of initiatives against curbing cancer in Punjab, the state today has become a model for other states for dealing with the deadly menace. It’s a multipronged strategy of the state government, covering the poor patients that has proved effective in dealing with the disease.
Amongst the most effective schemes is “Mukh Mantri Punjab Cancer Raahat Kosh Scheme. The state government under the scheme has a provided a sum of Rs 50.00 crores, for treatment of all cancer patients barring government employees and those who have health insurance cover. Under the scheme an amount of upto 1.50 lakhs is being made available for treatment of every cancer patient. So far, sanctions worth more than 54 crores have been made to the hospitals all over the state for treatment of more than 5000 Cancer patients. Besides free and cheap treatment is also being provided through financial assistance under State illness Fund through Punjab Nirogi Society, which helps not only cancer patients but also others from the BPL families who are suffering from other life threatening diseases.
Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal says these initiatives are a beginning to make Punjab a cancer-free state. “Apart from providing superlative treatment, the government is also working on prevention of cancer by banning manufacture, import and use of pesticides.
“Apart from providing superlative treatment, we are also taking steps for prevention of cancer by banning the manufacture, import and use of pesticides that are injurious to health. We are also educating farmers on the use of right kind of pesticides,” he said.
Besides the government has also begun biggest ever door-to-door campaign for detecting cancer at an early stage. The campaign after beginning from Faridkot is now being extended to other vulnerable areas in the state. More than 50,000 personnel have been deployed to reach out to more than 1.25 crore people.
Punjab government had already set up Cancer Relief Fund with an initial amount of Rs 20 crore which supported the treatment of 4744 cancer patients across the state.
The government is also providing free travel facility in Punjab Roadways & PRTC Buses for cancer patients who have to avail treatment. Also children diagnosed with cancer are being provided free treatment by the Health department. PGI Chandigarh and Mohan Dai Oswal Cancer Hospital Ludhiana has been providing treatment to the children.
Special facilities in hospitals
Moreover state of the art medical facilities are being made available in the hospitals and treatment centres to deal with the cancer patients. Brachytherapy machine has been installed at Government Medical College and Hospital, Patiala. Brachytherapy is a kind of radiation therapy which uses radiation in a focused manner/beam to treat localized cancer. Similarly Radiotherapy machine and Cobalt Unit has been set up at Sri Guru Gobind Singh Medical College Faridkot. Also Cobalt Source has been installed at Sri Guru Ram Das Institute of Medical Sciences & Research. Centre Amritsar. For better co-ordination the Regional Cancer Centre, PGI has been linked with all the districts through Tele-Medicine facility.
Apart from this, the state government has sealed an agreement with Max Health Care for establishing a Super Specialty Hospital for Cancer & Trauma Care in the premises of Civil Hospital SAS Nagar, and for setting up of Super Specialty Cancer & Cardiac Hospital in the premises of Civil Hospital, Bathinda. Both these hospitals are fully functional.