The decision of the State Government to set up chemotherapy centres in rural areas is being welcomed by the medical fraternity. The decision would definitely reduce the burden on cancer hospital. However, medical experts are questioning the viability of the decision. The experts feel that first the government should establish proper facilities and experts in metro cities then pay attention to rural areas.
Health minister Suresh Shetty declared in the state legislative council that the government would set up day care chemotherapy centres in the rural areas. During the first phase, the scheme would be implemented in seven districts in Vidharbha and a pilot project in this regard has already been started in Amaravati district.
Officer on special duty at cancer hospital, Dr Arvind Gaikwad said such centres would help in reducing the burden on cancer hospital. A majority of patients are from rural parts.
Cancer department head at GMCH, Dr Balaji Shewalkar said, there are no civic chemotherapy centres except the cancer hospital in the region. Thus the hospital receives a large number of patients which is quite burdensome. In one day we conduct chemotherapy on 70-75 patients. If such a centre is established, it would help reducing the burden on the cancer hospital and we can give quality treatment to the patients.
Medical oncologist, Dr Shantanu Kulkarni said setting up of chemotherapy centres without proper equipment and technical staff would be playing with the lives of the patients. "If we see the situation in the city, in majority of private hospitals including cancer hospital, radiologists have been given additional charge of chemotherapy. Handling of chemotherapy by radiologists is illegal and unethical. Many a time, the government sitting in Mumbai takes the decision without proper knowledge of ground realities. If the hospitals in urban parts do not have qualified and expert chemo therapists then how can the government appoint expert chemotherapists in rural parts. Running such centres without experts can prove to be very dangerous for the patients. The government should look into all the aspects and then go ahead with the decision."