Shillong, April 16: From 2010 to 2017 as many as 8,338 cancer patients were registered in the Cancer Department of Shillong Civil Hospital, the Meghalaya Assembly was informed on Monday.
Out of these 8,338 patients 5,291 were males and 3,047 were females. Up to March this year, around 192 cancer patients have been registered.
Replying to a motion on treatment of cancer patients in Shillong Civil Hospital raised by East Shillong Legislator Ampareen Lyngdoh, State Health Minister Alexander L Hek informed the House that all types of supportive care for cancer patients are being provided at the hospital.
“Drugs for supportive care are provided free of cost by the government and palliative care drugs such as morphine are available at NEIGRIHMS and the same is provided to the cancer patients as per the request and advice of the doctors of Shillong Civil Hospital,” Hek told the House.
The Health Minister also told the House that according to the population-based cancer registry, the Northeast has the highest number of cancer cases and Meghalaya ranks fourth after Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur.
“Due to the rise in the cancer patients in the State, the existing Civil Hospital fails to accommodate more patients and at times become congested,” Hek said.
He said that patients needing only day-care services insist that they be accommodated in the hospital as they have no other shelter in the city.
“This has given rise to patients being accommodated in the corridors, ramps and even in any free spaces in the hospital,” the Health Minister added.
Due to the rise in the cancer patients, the State Government signed a memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Department of Atomic Energy to set up a cancer wing at the Shillong Civil Hospital.
The construction of the building was sanctioned in 2008 at a cost of Rs 26, 16, 29,780 and is nearing completion. The State Health Minister hoped that this cancer wing with the state-of-the-art-equipment would commission soon for the benefit of patients.
The Health Minister also said that the number of patients treated with radiation therapy from 2012 till March 2018 was 3,041 – 2,002 males and 1,039 females.
Hek also informed the House that besides radiation therapy, the patients are also provided with chemotherapy as prescribed by doctors.
He, however, told the House that all patients have to purchase chemotherapy drugs from their own expenses. Those covered under Megha Health Insurance Scheme (MHIS), the payment is made as per the rules.
The Health Minister told the Meghalaya Assembly that under MHIS-I, the total number of patients who have been benefitted after being treated at Shillong Civil Hospital were 993 and the amount spent was Rs 50,96,875.
Hek also said that under MHIS-II, the total number of cancer patients who have benefitted is 523 and the amount spent is Rs 52, 64, 685.
“Under MHIS-III, the total number of patients who have benefitted till date is 298 and the total amount spent so far is Rs 16,86,978,” Hek told the House.
According to the State Health Minister, through various awareness camps organized and conducted by various agencies like the State Cancer Society, people have been made more aware of cancer, which has helped in early detection and timely treatment.
Surgeries for cancer patients are also being carried out at the Civil Hospital Shillong, Ganesh Das Government Maternal and Child Hospital, Shillong and at NEIGRIHMS.