The Maharashtra government has decided to provide free chemotherapy treatment to patients admitted to district hospitals, state public health minister Deepak Sawant declared on Friday.
In the first phase, the facility will be made available from June onwards at ten district hospitals. located in Pune, Jalgaon, Nashik, Satara, Nagpur, Gadchiroli, Amravati, Bhandara, Akola and Wardha.
Doctors and nurses at the hospitals will be trained at the Tata Memorial Hospital in Mumbai and the training will begin next month. The Tata Memorial Hospital currently provides a six-week chemotherapy course to the cancer patients, which plays an integral role in the treatment of cancer. The same facility will now be made available at government district hospitals, said Sawant.
“We will train one physician and a nurse from each of the ten hospitals for the course. The duration of the training will be three weeks, and will be conducted at the Medical Oncology Department of the Tata Hospital,” he said.
By making the facility available across the state, the move is likely to help patients save time and traveling and lodging expenses. Moreover, as the service will be free of cost, it will be a huge relief to many.
According to the National Cancer Registry Program (NCRP), around 11 lakh people across the country are diagnosed with cancer every year. Including existing patients, the number rises to 28 lakhs.
Of these, around 5 lakh die from cancer every year. The move will reduce the number of cancer deaths in the state, added the minister.