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Health dept deflates cancer death figure

While the number of cancer cases in Punjab is alarming,the data compiled by the Health Department claims otherwise.

Written by Aman Sood | Patiala |
January 7, 2009 11:00:02 pm

While the number of cancer cases in Punjab is alarming,the data compiled by the Health Department claims otherwise. Hundreds of persons in the state are diagnosed with this dreaded disease every year,but the official records report a little over 1,600 deaths in the past three years. To top it all,they have termed it a “routine affair”.

The data,collected from a few hospitals,was submitted by the department for various districts to the state government.

Sources in the Health Department said Punjab has listed and accepted only 1,654 deaths,which include the patients who had sought treatment in various hospitals within the state.

“The number will be much higher if patients who died in their respective villages or in other states,where they might have gone for treatment,are also counted,” said sources.

Patiala Civil Surgeon Kuldeep Kaur Sahni said a survey was conducted in 2006 in the border belt. “I will have to crosscheck if there are any instructions to us by the government,” she told The Indian Express.

However,no door-to-door survey was conducted. A senior functionary of the Health Department claimed that the data was collected from districts of Bathinda,Patiala,Faridkot,Moga,Ludhiana,Muktsar,Barnala,Sangrur,Mansa and Ferozepur. “We asked the civil surgeons for data,and they sent it in a couple of days. I do not know if they conducted any survey,” he said.

Pyara Singh,a resident of Badshahpur village,said,“If this is what the government is claiming,then there can be a no bigger lie. In our area,we have lost almost 12 persons to cancer,” he said.

According to the figures available with the department,in 2005,there were 480 cancer deaths; 583 in 2006 and 591 in 2007.

Sources said a communiqué was sent to all civil surgeons,wherein Director,Health and Family Welfare,had asked DHS,Punjab,Navneet Kaur for data for an un-starred question in Punjab Vidhan Sabha in September 2008.

“Interestingly,the government hospitals in various parts of the state have reported almost negligible death rate in Patiala. On the other hand,Government Rajindra Hospital Patiala,CMC,Ludhiana,and Oswal Cancer Hospital have reported maximum deaths,” claimed a Health Department official.

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