Cancer and cardiovascular patients in the state are yet to be benefited by the Centre’s ambitious scheme launched in 2011 owing to little or no implementation of the project.
Although the screening test for diabetes has been started at the district level, tests for cancer and other cardiovascular diseases are yet to be rolled out. The National Programme for Prevention and Control of Cancer, Diabetes, Cardiovascular Diseases and Stroke is still at a nascent stage of execution even though the scheme was scheduled to be implemented by 2013.
The programme envisages a cardiac care unit, at a cost of Rs 1.5 crore, to be set up in selected districts, besides establishing non-communicable diseases clinics with facilities of common diagnostic services, basic surgery, chemotherapy and palliative care for cancer patients.
Palliative care is comfort care given to patients having life-threatening diseases such as cancer from the time of diagnosis.
The project included districts of Vaishali, Muzaffarpur, West Champaran, East Champaran and Rohtas.
The health ministry, in 2011, launched the integrated pilot project in 100 districts of 21 states of the country. Earlier, Union health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, during his last visit to state in 2013, had blamed the state government for non-compliance of the scheme.
The delay, sources in the health ministry said, was because of lack of infrastructure and manpower.
Health secretary Sanjay Kumar said: “Screening for diabetes is already underway in the five selected districts. We plan to extend it to other districts in phases. This would be done through state resources. However, it will take some time to provide services for cancer and other cardiovascular diseases.”
Sanjay said Bihar was the third state in the country after Tamil Nadu and Delhi, where expectant women were being tested for diabetes and treated free of cost.
In 2011, Bihar State Health Society, in collaboration with Novo Nordisk Education Foundation, had launched an innovative scheme — Changing Diabetes Barometer Project — to undertake a control programme by creating mass awareness, screening, education and treatment, besides helping those suffering from the disease to lead a healthy and hassle-free life.
The project was initially launched in Patna, Nalanda and Bhagalpur. Though no state-specific data was available with regard to actual number of diabetic patients in the state, Bihar accounts for around 10 per cent of the total diabetics in the country, health department sources said.
The project was launched after the United Nations (UN) convened a meeting of different countries in 2011 and expressed concern over the worldwide increase in lifestyle diseases.