Health minister for cashless treatment to cancer patients

Health staff not getting salary for months

Shillong, June 22: Health Minister Ampareen Lyngdoh has said there is a need to provide cashless treatment to cancer patients in Meghalaya.

Addressing the gathering at the national cancer survivors’ day function on Wednesday, Ampareen said patients face financial burden due to the expenditure involved in the treatment.


According to Ampareen, there are issues of MHIS cards linking with Aadhaar besides people not having Aadhaar cards.

PET scan available only in Guwahati 

The minister deplored that Positron Emission Tomography (PET) test, an upgraded testing facility to help cancer patients, is only available in Guwahati.

She said the testing facility should be made available to the patients in the state.

Later, speaking to reporters, Dr Anisha Mawlong, head of the department, Oncology, Civil Hospital said the state should have  nuclear medicine specialist and radiation safety officer before starting PET test facility.

During the meeting, the minister also apologised to the health staff as they are not getting their regular salary.

“My apologies to the health staff who are not paid for 12 to 18 months”, she said.

Principal secretary in-charge of health and family welfare Sampath Kumar said that cancer is a lifestyle disease as a result of consumption of tobacco and related products and hence regular screening and early detection can cure cancer. Kumar said that the government is providing care through the Cancer Wing of Civil Hospital, Shillong for more than 7,000 patients every year. The healthcare budgetary expenditure of the state government is almost close to 9 percent of the state budget, he said.

Dr FV Kharshiing, Director, Health Services (MI) emphasized on the need of continued support for cancer patients and the importance of combined efforts.

The Civil Hospital, Shillong and State Cancer Society, Meghalaya jointly organised the event which honoured the strength and resilience of cancer survivors, while also raising awareness about the ongoing battle against cancer in the region.

The cancer survivors shared their experience on the occasion.

Dr. Joram Beda, Commissioner & Secretary, Health & Family Welfare and Dr. Lily S. Ch. Marak, Additional Director, Health Services were also present.

Earlier, in February this year, Meghalaya hosted the Meghalaya Cancer Conclave with the theme “Close The Care Gap” which witnessed a gathering of key stakeholders, including oncologists, cancer researchers, scholars, NGOs, bureaucrats among others with a focus on addressing the disparities in cancer care and ensuring equitable access to treatment for all.

Guided by the State Cancer Society, the Government of Meghalaya in collaboration with Apollo Telemedicine Foundation and the World Economic Forum, in May 2023, launched the ‘Megh Can Care’ program with the aim to screen people for cancer and mobilize them for early diagnostics and treatment and enhance a responsible system of care delivery. The government has also launched a cancer helpline number 14410 to avail free screening.

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