BHUBANESWAR: Six district hospitals will start offering cancer treatment services from April as the State Government has decided to adopt the Madhya Pradesh model of expanding cancer care infrastructure and facilities to the grassroots.
The district headquarters hospitals (DHHs) of Koraput, Nabrangpur, Kalahandi, Mayurbhanj, Sundargarh and Puri will set up 10-bed cancer units under trained doctors, nurses and paramedics to provide chemotherapy and follow-up treatment to patients in their respective regions.
This would come as a boon to thousands of cancer patients as they would no longer have to take the trouble of visiting the Acharya Harihar Regional Cancer Centre (AHRCC), the sole Government cancer hospital of the State at Cuttack for basic chemotherapy and follow-up treatment. The services would be made available near their doorsteps at the DHHs under the guidance of the specialists of AHRCC.
The Health Department has roped in senior oncologist Dr Dinesh Y Pendharkar of Asian Institute of Oncology, Mumbai, who has founded and designed the Madhya Pradesh cancer control programme, to steer the initiative in Odisha.
With Health Minister Atanu Sabyasachi Nayak taking the lead, a high-level meeting under Health Secretary Arti Ahuja on Monday decided to take up the six districts in the first phase and gradually expand to the rest. All the districts are targeted to be covered by the end of this year.
The decision was taken on the basis of the report by an expert team comprising State nodal officer Dr PKB Patnaik, AHRCC Director Prof Lalatendu Sarangi and medical oncologist Dr Diptirani Samanta who visited MP to study the successful model and devise a similar module for Odisha.
Under the mentoring of Dr Phendarkar, a highly effective programme is being implemented by linking cancer specialists to the patients at the grassroots through trained doctors and paramedics at the peripheral healthcare centres. Apart from administering chemotherapy services under the guidance of specialists, the centres also facilitate counselling and post-treatment monitoring of the patients.
One doctor and two staff nurses from each district cancer centre will be selected and provided monthlong training in chemotherapy administration as well as other basic follow-up treatment of cancer patients. While the doctors will undergo training at Faridabad, the nurses would gain hands-on practice of caring for cancer patients at the cancer centre in Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh. “The training would start from March and the district cancer centres would be operational from April. The AHRCC will be the nodal centre with the departments concerned at MKCGMCH Berhampur and VSSMCH Burla pitching in with support for their respective peripheral institutions. Apart from cancer care services, the centres would also lead community-level awareness and screening programmes,” Dr Patnaik said.