Cashless cancer treatment for all below 18: Punjab health minister

At least 50,000 new cases of cancer in childhood are detected every year in India, but the mortality rate is “very high” due to inadequate facilities.

Cancer survivor children taking a selfie during a function in Patiala.(Bharat Bhushan/HT)

The Punjab department of health and family welfare has decided to cover all cancer patients up to 18 years of age under its cashless treatment scheme, said state health minister Brahm Mohindra here on Friday.
Announcing this during a state-level workshop on ‘paediatric oncology stakeholder sensitisation’, he said, “The government is committed to providing tertiary health services to each and every child of the state suffering from cancer. We have commenced the first-of-its-kind special awareness programme to ensure health security.”

Under the Chief Minister Cancer Relief Fund scheme, cancer patients will be given Rs 1.5 lakh for treatment. “Earlier, the focus was only on adult patients,” he said. He added that at least 50,000 new cases of cancer in childhood are detected every year in India, but the mortality rate is “very high” due to inadequate facilities.

Under the Chief Minister Cancer Relief Fund scheme, cancer patients will be given Rs 1.5 lakh for treatment.

The minister said that, keeping in view the process of tracking and follow-up of cancer patients at primary and secondary levels, the health department is also imparting special training to medical officers, staff nurses and auxillary nursing midwives (ANMs) to conduct tests concerning cancers, especially among children and women in rural areas. “We have already implemented the plan to strengthen facilities at government medical colleges in Patiala and Amritsar and other cancer hospitals to provide quality tertiary health services to the affected children,” he claimed.

Meanwhile, on the occasion, the department of medical education and research also signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with a not-for-profit organisation, CanKids, in the presence of Vikas Partap, secretary for medical education, and Poonam Bagai, founder chairman of CanKids. He said CanKids is going to initiate an “awareness crusade” by first organising a car rally across the Punjab next week.

Anjali Bhanwra, principal secretary, health, said the department needs more and more screening and awareness programmes to cover the total population of the state. “The department and CanKids will jointly run the campaign to identify patients and provide easy access to health services,” she said.
Source - Hindustan Times

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