Sunday 17 September 2017

Supporting Childhood Cancer Treatment in Punjab - Government of Punjab joins other Stakeholders

Childhood cancer almost never figures on the government radar. And we all realize that this is a critical component if we have to have real success in true control of childhood cancers in India. Individuals and organisations – where from the healthcare sector or the non-governmental sector can only do so much.

Over the last couple of years, Cankids has been actively engaging and lobbying with state governments – of Tamil Nadu and then Uttar Pradesh. Earlier this week they had a very fruitful meeting with the Punjab Government. I am sharing some news stories with you in this regard.

The Punjab government represented by the Punjab health minister Brahm Mohindra and his team joined the medical community – Dr Shruti Kakkar from DMC Ludhiana, Dr Joseph John from CMC Ludhiana, Dr Amita Mahajan from Apollo, New Delhi as well as Dr Scott Howard from World Child Cancer and International Society of Pediatric Oncology. The parent/patient support groups and civil society was represented by Cankids.

At a open meeting hosted at Government Medical College Patiala, several announcements were made including
  • Extend cashless cancer treatment for the children at the 18 empanelled hospitals
  • To provide tertiary health services to each and every child of state suffering from cancer
  • commenced first of its kind ever special awareness programme for children suffering from cancer
  • Under the Chief Minister Cancer Relief Fund scheme, cancer patients will be given Rs 1.5 lakh for treatment
  • 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
Of course, this is but the first step. Continued action will lead to change and that remains to be seen.