At a time when the country is pitching for equality and equal rights for all, it is a shocking revelation that girl children are not given proper treatment and care. The observation made by the Regional Cancer Centre of JIPMER brings to light that gender discrimination is still prevalent here and families show gender preference while treating children affected with cancer.
Speaking to Express on the sidelines of a human chain porgramme held to create awareness about childhood cancer, Dr Biswajit, assistant professor, Medical Oncology Department of JIPMER, said parents of girl children afflicted with cancer refused to turn up for follow up treatment after the detection of the disease. It is an observation made by our department in the last couple of years. In one particular case, the mother of the girl child did not turn up and when contacted, she told the hospital authorities that she has two more children, both males, to take care of, the doctor said.
A few more similar cases were observed in which girl children were involved. “We put pressure on the family to let the children continue with the treatment and we succeed also,” said Dr Biswajit. The RCC is doing follow-up on such cases vigorously by engaging social workers with the institute so as to ensure that the child is getting continued treatment, he said. “Social workers follow it up and put pressure on the parents to come for treatment,” he said.
Dr Biswajit said the observation also revealed that the socio-economic conditions prevailing in the rural areas and the neighbouring districts of Tamil Nadu is the reason for the neglect of the girl child from getting the full course of treatment once diagnosed with cancer.
The assistant professor said over 30,000 cases of childhood cancer are reported in the country every year.The most common cancers are acute leukemia, lymphomas and solid tumors, he added.
The human chain was held near the Gandhi statue on the beach in the presence of JIPMER Director, Dr T S Ravikumar, Roatary Club Beach Town, Panav Tyagi, assistant professors of JIPMER Dr Biswajit and Dr Smita Kayal. Children undergoing treatment for cancer at JIPMER, NSS volunteers and Pondicherry University students took part.