VISAKHAPATNAM : The Department of Nuclear Medicine which was set up in KGH to provide multi- disciplinary diagnosis facilities for various life threatening diseases has become almost non-functional, owing to lack of equipment.
The centre which was envisaged to provide lab testing facilities for cancers and ailments related to brain, bone, kidney and liver, is now catering to the needs of only thyroid patients. Further, the gamma camera, a vital equipment for performing various critical diagnostic tests, has gone defunct for the last one decade.
The department used to play a major role in the diagnosis of all kinds of life-threatening diseases before 2005 with the help of gamma camera, which is now called SPECT-CT. Now, KGH has proposed to get the device to the hospital under public-private partnership (PPP), which is underway.
“It is a costly affair, needing crores of rupees and per annum expenses for radiopharmaceuticals also cost lakhs. Besides cost and maintenance, the diagnosis itself costs `15,000 to 25,000 to the patients at private hospitals and here they can be treated at half the cost,” said S Madhuri, the in-charge of Nuclear Medicine department.
“The proposal has been prepared and some people are interested in the project. If it happens under the PPP mode, the financial burden on the government will be reduced and many diseases can be easily diagnosed,“ she added. Through the SPECT-CT, around 20 to 30 patients can be diagnosed per day and 500 to 800 patients per month for several diseases, before and after treatment.
“Apart from the SPECT-CT, we are also looking for positron emission tomography (PET-CT), which is used for the diagnosis of cancer and 10 percent for cardiology, neurology and others. Through this, around 10 patients per day can be attended. As the CSR block has space for nuclear medicine department, we have planned for both, under the PPP, with advanced technology and utmost safety as it has to deal with radioactive treatment,” said Madhuri.
At present, the department is running with eight staffers and a minimum facility. Hypothyroid and hyperthyroid patients visit the department for radioimmunoassay treatment. To top it, the department doesn’t have a nuclear physician since 2011.