Cancer care strategy soon in Kerala

At the moment the government is implementing Sukrutham free cancer treatment scheme for patients in government hospitals.

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Governor P. Sathasivam on Monday said that the government would evolve a “cancer care strategy” to counter increasing incidence of various types of cancer in the state. The government plan is to put in place an effective strategy that would cover prevention, early detection and treatment of cancer. At the moment the government is implementing Sukrutham free cancer treatment scheme for patients in government hospitals.

Various studies have indicated that there has been an alarming rise in cancer patients. According to government statistics, more than 50,000 new cancer cases are reported every year in the state. It is against this backdrop that the government had implemented Sukrutham project which is the first of its kind in the country, he said. The scheme facilitates free cancer treatment for all patients. Initially the scheme was implemented in Regional Cancer Centre Trivandrum, Malabar Cancer Centre, Thiruvananthapuram, Alappuzha, Kottayam, Kozhikode medical colleges and Ernakulam general hospital.

The government expected to cover 47 percent of the population under the project. However, it continues to face many problems. Acute shortage of cancer drugs had severely hit cancer care under Sukrutham programme across medical college hospitals. Some time back even new registrations had come to a near halt. Under Sukrutham launched in 2014, Kerala Medical Services Corporation (KMSCL) was designated as the nodal agency for supplying medicines. These medicines are provided free of cost to the registered patients.

The state government had given Rs 30 crore as the first instalment of which Rs 2 crore was allotted to the five medical colleges. With the allotted money getting exhausted, the medical colleges had given representation for fresh allocation to keep the scheme up and running. Before the launch of Sukrutham, the state had launched a programme in November 2012 to provide 105 cancer drugs free of cost through the Kerala Medical Services Corporation (KMSCL).

The free drug project was implemented in all five government medical colleges and the general hospital in Kochi at a cost of Rs 19 crore, to counter the exorbitant prices of anticancer drugs in the open market. Experts say the proposed cancer care strategy would succeed only if there is close coordination between the hospitals and regular flow of medicines from the KMSCL. Moreover, the government will have to ensure that more funds are allocated to the Sukrutham project to keep it alive. At the moment the RCC is running the project using its own funds.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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