The long-awaited cancer wing at Shillong Civil Hospital was finally inaugurated by Health and Family Welfare Minister James PK Sangma here today.
The Department of Atomic Energy had sanctioned Rs 26.16 crore in December 2008 for the project but it was delayed due to the serious negligence of the State Cancer Society, the Comptroller and Auditor General had said in a 2021 report.
Cancer is now the fifth-leading cause of death in the state.
Speaking today, Sangma said that the inauguration is a momentous occasion for Meghalaya as it is the first cancer wing in a state-run hospital. He expressed his gratitude to all the stakeholders who had contributed in making this dream a reality.
He informed that Meghalaya has implemented the First Cancer Care (FCC) Project, which will work in tandem with the cancer wing. Cancer treatment can take years and, therefore, a dedicated approach is required. FCC has been brought in order to screen for early detection, early diagnosis and early treatment, which should have a huge impact on how cancer patients are treated and increase the rate of survival, he said.
The state government is also in the process of establishing a similar cancer-treating facility in Tura.
This is just the beginning and there are still a lot of things that need to be done, in terms of diagnosis, treatments, post-treatment care, etc, the minister added. The government has also been encouraging a lot of community participation in the fight against cancer, through the village health councils which the state has started and the health councils will play an integral role in reaching out to the rural masses, he added.
Sangma also launched a book titled ‘Meghalaya Mission Cancer Prevention and Early Detection’, which can be downloaded from the official website of the State Cancer Society.
The programme was also attended by Sampath Kumar, Principal Secretary, Health and Family Welfare; Ram Kumar S, Mission Director, National Health Mission; Dr P Kumar, Regional Director, Atomic Mineral Directorate for Exploration and Research; among others.