Shillong,Dec 13: Taking note of state having over 80,000 cancer patients, the High Court of Meghalaya has asked the government to seek the help of the Centre to support a dedicated hospital for cancer treatment.
Hearing a PIL, the division bench comprising Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice W Diengdoh said, “In such a scenario, it is absolutely imperative that the cancer treatment in the state is augmented and a dedicated hospital for such purpose is set up.”
The bench also referred to the affidavit submitted by the Joint Secretary of the Health and Family Welfare department and said it appears that the total number of patients suffering from cancer in the state may be above 80,000.
The cancer wing of the Shillong civil hospital is equipped to admit only a few persons and the outpatients’ facilities are only a few more.
Additionally, since cancer patients come from the neighbouring states to Shillong, there is a need for augmentation of the number of beds catering to cancer patients and even the outpatients’ department, the court said.
The health department said the cancer wing at the Shillong civil hospital has started to function and has 34 beds of which 22 are for males and 12 for females.
It further added that some cancer patients are accommodated in other wards also, several patients are forced to take admission in private wards.
The health department also referred to the habit of chewing tobacco among the locals here that leads to the high incidence of cancer.
The bench however said it is evident again from the affidavit filed by the state that there is one room No 25 which is used as a cancer treatment centre and also doubles up as the outpatients’ department.
“It is necessary, in public interest, to have a specialised cancer treatment centre and the state should seek appropriate funds from the Union for such purpose after citing high incidence of the affliction due to the life-style of the residents of the state,” the court said.
The bench also directed the state government to file a further affidavit to indicate the measures adopted to tackle the large number of patients immediately and it also wanted the steps to augment facilities to be taken up at a later date.
The court will hear the case on February 21.