Staff Reporter

To provide specialised care for paediatric cancer

  • Ward to be inaugurated on February 5
  • `70 p.c. of paediatric cancer curable'

    KOZHIKODE: The setting up of an exclusive ward for children, afflicted by leukaemia and similar ailments such as lymphoma, at the Institute of Maternal and Child Health (IMCH) of the Kozhikode Medical College Hospital here is viewed as the result of a long standing demand for such a facility.

    Health Minister P.K. Sreemathy will formally inaugurate the ward at a programme to be held on February 5.

    The Malabar Region Blood Patients Protection Council had been in the forefront of the agitation demanding a separate ward for children afflicted by blood cancer and related ailments in view of their high susceptibility to infections when treated in the general ward.

    Dr. Lulu Mathew, Head of Department of Paediatrics, Kozhikode Medical College said essentially the 30-bed ward is to isolate children suffering from leukaemia. As many as six isolated cubicles, and facility for setting the ventilator was being provided at the ward built at a cost of Rs.25 lakh. She said a detailed project has been submitted to up grade the ward under the Rs.60-crore National Health Rural Mission programme to be implemented at the IMCH.

    Dr. V.T. Ajith Kumar, former additional superintendent of IMCH, and now in-charge of the oncology ward here says 70 per cent of the paediatric cancer is curable and the survival chances are high when right treatment is provided without interruption.

    The basic objective of the special oncology ward is to provide specialised care to children undergoing chemotherapy and radiation.

    Dr. Ajith Kumar opines that the up gradation of the ward with improved diagnostic facilities hopefully in the near future envisages to bring all cancer afflicted children under one unit. Now children afflicted by bone tumours and diseases of the kind are treated under the neurosurgery department. A separate ward is ideal while simultaneously networking with RCC for expert guidance. The project for the separate ward was initiated under K. Ramachandran, former health minister, two years ago.

    Blood Patients' Protection Council Malabar Region convenor Kareem Karassery said the demand for a separate ward for children afflicted by blood-related diseases was made in 1996. In fact a ward was opened but only as a formality after the High Court directive seven years ago.

    Welcoming the decision, Mr. Karassery expressed hope that a separate, full-fledged unit with specialists such as paediatric oncologist would be set up in due course. Life saving drugs too must be made available round the clock, he said.

    On a query on the alleged lack of availability of life-saving drugs she said these medicines were available most of the time.