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Updated: October 11, 2009 13:46 IST

“Many cancer patients seeking medical help at terminal stage”

Special Correspondent
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Health Secretary V.K. Subburaj. Photo S. Thanthoni
THE HINDU Health Secretary V.K. Subburaj. Photo S. Thanthoni

Due to lack of awareness many people suffering from cancer seek medical help only at the terminal stage, said V.K. Subburaj, Principal Secretary, Health and Family Welfare, here on Saturday.

Participating in an awareness programme on ‘Gastrointestinal Cancers,’ organised jointly by the Department of Surgical Gastroenterology, Madras Medical College, and Department of Health and Family Welfare and Friends of GH, Mr. Subburaj said nearly 1 crore persons died world over due to cancer. In India about 10 lakh new cancer cases were reported every year and 4 lakh persons in the country died of this disease annually, he said. At present, the palliative care department is not functioning at the Government General Hospital. Hence, a memorandum of understanding was signed between a private clinic and the Government General hospital, he said.

The State government had increased allocation of funds for the Health and Family Welfare Department, said M. R. K. Paneerselvam, State Health and Family Welfare Minister. In the last three years, the government allocated Rs. 3,391 crore for implementing various welfare projects. The department had appointed more than 5,000 physicians, 6,800 nurses and 10,000 para-medical staff, he added.

Explaining the e-mail and helpline number for gastroenterology problems, S.M. Chandramohan, Professor and Head of Surgical Gastroenterology Department, Government General Hospital, said patients could send in inquiries by e-mail – ghgastro@tn.gov.in – which would be answered by a team of doctors. Even scan reports could be sent by mail to get clarifications, he said.

Similarly, any one having some gastroenterology problems could contact the helpline number 94449-01234. It would be attended by the duty doctor. In case the doctor was in some surgery it would automatically get diverted to Dr. Chandramohan’s mobile number.

Dr. Nalini Krishnan, Director, The Hindu , said the public-private partnership would help in reducing expenses for the poor and at the same time they would be able get quality medical care. Dr. S. Vinayagam, Director of Medical Education, and Dr. J. Mohanasundaram, Dean, Madras Medical College and Government General Hospital, were among those who spoke.

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