Bhubaneswar: The state government has rolled out the ambitious plan to offer palliative care for the terminally ill patients to help them in pain management and other medical assistance from the District Headquarter Hospitals (DHH).
However, the DHH wallows in utter neglect and survives with the least infrastructure and other amenities. In such conditions, the smooth rollout of the advanced medical facilities and infrastructure for the terminally ill, quality of service and its monitoring seems to be a Herculean task.
Palliative care centres offer pain management and other medical intervention for the terminally ill patients. It involves higher levels of medical services like availability of medically allowed narcotic substances, life support system and others. This also demands dedicated services of trained staffers who have been trained to handle such situations.
Currently the Acharya Harihar Regional Cancer Centre (AHRCC), Cuttack, AIIMS-Bhubaneswar and other premier private cancer hospitals offer such advanced facilities to cater to the needs of terminally ill patients. Oncologists from the state opine that it is a welcome step but it is riddled with challenges.
“The palliative care centres need morphine and other drugs to manage pain. It also demands life support systems, specially trained manpower to manage such centres. It helps the patients in terminal conditions for pain management and other extreme supports,” said Dr Saurav Mishra, an oncologist from the city.
According to the requirements of palliative care centres, they need continuous supply of medically approved narcotic— morphine. Morphine is usually –as per narcotic norms— not supplied throughout the year to hospitals. It is supplied under strict conditions as per the consumption data of the last one year. Any delay in its timely procurement or lack of database can interfere with its procurement process. Lack of trained staff for palliative care at district levels can also potentially mar the spirit of having such centres in the state.
The addition of palliative care in the district cancer programme, however, has raised the hopes of the people living in remote areas. If successful, they can offer such services which had been confined to a few centres in Bhubaneswar and Cuttack alone.
Earlier the state government had come up with the District Cancer Care Programme which planned to facilitate cancer care treatment services at the district levels. It was meant to provide massive consultation, awareness, free chemotherapy cycles in District Day Care Cancer Chemotherapy Centres and other facilities.
In the cancer treatment regime, the state has also pioneered in providing 86 types of anti-cancer drugs free of cost and all diagnosis are also given free of cost to all cancer patients under Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana (BSKY).