A cancer and palliative care unit, that was sanctioned about a year-and-a-half ago at the Una district hospital, is still not functional and has broken furniture and torn mattresses in the designated room. The unit had been created by setting up a partition in the existing surgical ward of the hospital, but is still not operative, making the cancer and palliative care patients suffer.
The main function of the cancer care unit is to ensure continuity of treatment as prescribed by cancer hospitals and to provide drugs, administer chemotherapy to patients near their homes besides addressing minor health issues related to the the disease. Dr Pushpinder Rana, Medical Officer posted at the district hospital, was designated as the District Cancer Care Officer about two years ago, but he is still without the support staff and sits in a small room with no privacy for patient’s clinical examination or counselling.
Dr Rana, along with two staff nurses, had been given training in cancer and palliative care. However, after the training, one of the staff nurse has been posted at the Community Health Centre (CHC) Dehlan, while the other one has been posted at the CHC, Santoshgarh, for general duties. Consequently, the patients seeking intravenous chemotherapy have to approach private institutions. Dr Rana said about 250 cancer patients were registered at the hospital and the number was increasing.
As per sources at the office of the District Programme Officer, a sum of Rs 2 lakh was being spent to furnish the new cancer care room. However, the tentative date when the unit would become functional could not be made available. Hospital sources said five new beds, mattresses and furniture besides other paraphernalia needed to be procured, which would take some more time for the unit to become functional.
Meanwhile, the search for a bigger room for the Cancer Care Officer with proper facilities of patient’s examination and counselling is also underway. It is, however, learned that the hospital already has a few suitable rooms for the purpose. While the government boasts of free medicines and healthcare to cancer patients near their homes, the facility at present remains almost denied to them.
Cancer specialist Dr Dinesh Pendharka visited the district recently and called for an early commissioning of the district cancer care unit so that the benefits can be availed by the patients. – Tribune India