District hospitals in Pune, Nagpur, Gadchiroli, Akola, Jalgaon, Nashik, Wardha, Satara, Bhandara and Amravati will be getting chemotherapy units, starting this June. These units will provide services free of cost and will be equipped with personnel trained by Tata Memorial Hospital in Mumbai, one of India’s premier cancer treatment centres.
This is a welcome move by the Maharashtra government as according to National Cancer Registry Programme 11 lakh people are diagnosed with cancer every year. Including old cases still ongoing, the total adds up to a harrowing 28 lakh patients every year. The standard treatment protocol includes six weeks of chemotherapy.
Affordable and quality care at the Tata Memorial and lack of facilities in other districts mean that patients travel with their kith and kin and wait for hours outside the hospital. These people from mostly low socio-economic background have to carve out their already meagre portions to pay for lodging and food in Mumbai. This also means that they have to take leave from their jobs or education to accompany the ailing family member for the duration of the chemo.
The initiative of setting up free chemotherapy units will decrease the rush at Tata Memorial, and patients will get affordable care in their districts. The first phase of this plan will be launched in June after Medical Oncology department of Tata Memorial trains the physicians and nurses of the selected district hospitals. The training is due to start from next month, according to the official release. More district hospitals shall be added to the list later.
As reported by The Times of India, state minister for health, Deepak Sawant said, “a six-week course is administered to patients in Tata Hospital. For this, they have to come all the way to Mumbai every week., the health department will make the facility available at the district-level free of cost to reduce the problems faced by them in travelling to Mumbai. “