A TOTAL of 39,345 cancer patients were provided a financial assistance of Rs 495 crore since 2011, the state government said om Tuesday. In reply to a question asked by Mukerian, MLA Rajnish Kumar, state health minister Brahm Mohindra said under the Mukh Mantri Punjab Cancer Raahat Kosh, financial assistance up to Rs 1.50 lakh was being provided to each cancer patient for treatment.
Mohindra said for the prevention of cervical cancer, human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine had been introduced in the state and so far the vaccine has been given to the 9,672 girls of 11-13 year age groups. “In the first phase, it was given to Class VI girls of all government schools of Bathinda and Mansa districts, which have highest prevalence of cervical cancer in the state. The vaccine is to be given in the rest of the state in a phased manner,” he said.
For facilitating cancer screening and early diagnosis of cancer, Mohindra listed several initiatives, including a pilot project that was started in Sangrur under which women above 30 years of age were screened for cervical cancer.
He added that in collaboration with the Centre, the state government would set up 50-bedded tertiary cancer care centres (TCCC) in Hoshiarpur and Fazilka.
As per the figures provided by the government, of the total 39,345 patients, last year, Amritsar recorded the highest of 1,052 patients were provided assistance followed by Bathinda, Ludhiana and other districts.
The government figures said from July 2011 to December 2012, 6,027 patients were provided assistance, 5565 in 2013, 8121 in 2014 and 8207 in the year 2015. For year 2016 and till April 18, 2017, the number of cancer patients were 8,925 and 2,557 respectively.
On Tuesday, in the ongoing assembly session, Leader of Opposition H S Phoolka had demanded for a half-hour discussion on cancer issue. Legislator Rajnish also demanded that the financial assistance provided to the cancer patients be increased to Rs 5 lakh from Rs 1.5 lakh. To this, health minister Brahm Mohindra said that the government “may consider it.”