In a bid to fight cancer, the Uttar Pradesh government has decided to provide free consultations and chemotherapy to patients in all the district hospitals of the state.
The Uttar Pradesh government announced on Friday that the free treatment will be provided under National Health Mission (NHM), the Times of India reported. The government has issued a circular that stated various camps that provide such facilities to the cancer patients should be set up all over the state.
The government move comes amid demands of providing adequate facilities to an increasing number of cancer patients in Uttar Pradesh.
According to the union health ministry statistics, Uttar Pradesh had the highest number of cancer cases in India, which stood at over 5 lakh in 2014. A majority of the patients in the state had to be rushed to Delhi and other metros for the treatment.
The state government has already sent an initial batch of 10 doctors to Delhi's Moolchand hospital for training.
The decision is likely to relieve the cancer patients of the economic burden due to the disease.
Experts say that for a single chemotherapy session, patients have to shell out Rs. 15,000- 20,000 in private hospitals and a majority of the patients require six to seven sessions.
"Patients can avail the benefits of this scheme by registering themselves, for which special camps are being held. So far 20 patients, including two from Aligarh and one each from Mathura and Hathras, have registered in Agra and their treatment will commence at the district hospital here," Piyush Jain, cancer registration camp in-charge for Agra, was quoted as saying by TOI.
Jain said that although the camps have all the adequate facilities, in case of emergency situations, patients would be referred to higher centres.
Although at present there are 14 government healthcare institutions in the state that provide cancer treatment, including chemotherapy, it is not free.
The cancer cases in India are soaring and as per a recent report tabled by the union health ministry in the Parliament, India witnessed an increase in the cancer cases to 30,16,628 in 2014 from 28,54,451 in 2012, while the number of cancer deaths was up to 4,91,598 in 2014 from 4,65,169 in 2012.
Union health minister JP Nadda said that the various reasons for the growth in cancer cases may be attributed to ageing population, unhealthy lifestyles, use of tobacco and tobacco products, and unhealthy diet.