Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, December 3
A “hub and spoke” model for the treatment of cancer established in Punjab under the aegis of the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), is to be replicated in other parts of the country as it has been successful in providing medicare at the grass-roots level.
Under the model, a hub or nodal centre has been established at Mullanpur near Chandigarh at a spoke (subsidiary centre) at Sangrur in collaboration with the Tata Memorial Centre (TMC), Mumbai, a grant-in-aid organisation under the DAE that is the oldest and largest cancer centre in the country.
At present, almost 8,000 patients are being treated annually in the Sangrur spoke at highly subsidised rates with adequate financial support from Punjab. In addition, the state government is operating six spokes on their own at Faridkot, Bathinda, Patiala, Amritsar, Fazilka and Hoshiarpur. A presentation on the functioning of the model was made before the Parliament’s Standing Committee on Science and Technology, Environment, Forests and Climate Change recently by representatives of DAE, TMC and the state government.
“Members of the committee evinced great interest in this model and suggested adoption of similar model in different states of the country,” the committee’s latest report tabled a few days ago states. TMC plans to address the increasing burden of cancer in India by creating about 30 hubs and 100-130 spokes.
Cancer has emerged as a serious issue in the medical field with rising incidence. The incidence of cancer in India is estimated to be 16 lakh annually, with a mortality rate of about eight lakh. Many areas of Punjab, specially the southern part, have witnessed a spike in cancer cases because of highly contaminated soil and groundwater as well as other anthropological factors.
The committee was told by experts that the current infrastructure in the country for treating cancer is grossly inadequate and two-thirds of the cancer care is actually provided in the private sector. As a result every year, almost six crore of India’s population goes below the poverty line because of the catastrophic healthcare-related expenditure on cancer, according to the committee’s report.
It was submitted before the committee that common and less complex cancer care facilities should be provided close to patients’ homes (spokes) to create minimum disruption in their lives and that of their families.
152 cases in Fazilka in a year
Fazilka: As many as 152 cancer patients have been detected in Fazilka district this year. Sources said contaminated drinking water, excessive use of fertilisers and insecticides is said to be the cause of the dreaded disease. Fazilka Deputy Commissioner Manpreet Singh Chhatwal said the state government had disbursed Rs 2.12 crore from the Chief Minister Relief Fund for 152 patients who approached the authorities for financial assistance. OC
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