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5 years on, district-level cancer centres still nonexistent

January 9, 2018

Srinagar, Jan 07: Five years after announcement, the state government is yet to start work on Tertiary Care Cancer Centres (TCCC) in Kashmir.
The centres, at Kupwara, Kishtwar and Udhampur, are meant to strengthen the cancer-care facilities at the district level.
In 2013, the Ministry for Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, had sanctioned the release of Rs 47.25-crore Non-Recurring Grant for the establishment of the centres.
The purpose of TCCCs was to decentralise cancer treatment and provide quality services to the people in the peripheral areas.
The centres will have full-fledged departments of medical oncology, surgical oncology, and radiation oncology.
However, the state is yet to begin work on the projects.
Director health services, Kashmir, Dr Saleem Ur Rehman said, “We have sent the tender drawings to Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC). We are waiting for their response and then only we can start the further process.”
He said that once they receive confirmation, they would send the proposal to the government of India.
Except Regional Cancer Centre at SKIMS, there are no other hospitals where cancer patients can go.
Many patients prefer going outside the state for treatment.
In 2017 alone, RCC at SKIMS, Soura, registered 4,500 new cases.
The follow up patients in the centre are 70,439 and 2,368 patients have gone through radiotherapy.
In 2016, around 4000 patients were registered in the centre.
Dr Mohammad Maqbool Lone, Head of the Oncology department at SKIMS, said there was a need of more cancer centres in the state. “Every year, cancer is increasing slowly here. There is a yearly 7 per cent increase in cancer in the state,” he said.
“We are receiving patients from all districts of the state. Around, 95% of the patients in Jammu and Kashmir visit SKIMS for treatment. It will be better if government opens more centres in the state.”
“As per the population of the state we need more centres in different districts where trained oncologists can treat the patients,” he said.
Mohammad Aslam, a patient from Kupwara at the hospital said that he has to cover long distance to reach SKIMS for therapies.
“If government would open more centres, it will help poor patients like me.”
Another patient from north, Jabeena Bano said she has to go outside the state thrice a year for treatment.
“We do not have good facilities here, so I go outside.”

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