Jammu, Feb 24: Keeping in mind the lackadaisical health services provided to cancer patients in the state, a directive has been issued by the state High Court to the Commissioner/Health and Medical Education Department to install PET scan machines in all the government medical colleges of the state within six months.
This directive was issued on the basis of a Public Health Litigation filed by MR. A.V. Gupta , a Senior Advocate requesting the sate to provide better health care facilities to cancer patients. In his petition Mr. Gupta has also asked for adequate number of oncologists, onco surgeons, PET scan machines and other experts for various types of cancer in all regions of the state.
The Division Bench Chief Justice N. Paul Vasanthakumar and Justice Tashi Rabstan observed, “the Constitution of India mandates the States to provide facilities of health care.” The bench brought to light the fact that of the 1 crore population in the state at least 1% suffered from some kind of cancer . It stated, that despite Medical Colleges having been established by the Medical Education Department none offered cancer treatment facility to the citizens of the state.
“There are two Medical Colleges in Jammu and one Medical College and a Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences at Srinagar. The basic physician, who diagnosis and treats the cancer patients is known as an Oncologist, who should be qualified MBBS Degree holder with MD in Medicine and thereafter to undergo DM Oncology. Such qualified person alone can be called as Oncologist but no such qualified person is available in Medical College at Jammu. Even in private Medical College there is no such qualified Oncologist”, the high court further observed.
Highlighting the sad situation in the state, the petitioner said, 56716 patients of cancer were registered with the Oncology department of the Govt. Medical Colleges, Jammu & Srinagar,and Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences, Soura.The number incresasng with every passing year. He said some of the patients were reaching out to the PGI, Chandigarh and AIIMS Delhi for treatment of their ailment.
The court has directed the Commissioner Health & Medical Education Department to file affidavit giving details regarding the faculty and other support staff in the Department of Oncology, the qualification of the faculty. The Bench has also asked for details of the machinery provided in the Department of Oncology and that still to be provided to the department to constructively functional.
“Cancer patients cannot wait for selection of Oncologist. Their immediate requirement is to get proper diagnose and timely treatment. There are Oncologists in Medical Institutions in Srinagar and till selection is made through Public Service Commission to fill up the posts of Oncologists in Government Medical College, Jammu, a direction is issued to the respondents to send at least one Oncologist on deputation basis to the Government Medical College, Jammu for diagnosing and suggesting treatment to the cancer patients”, the DB said.
“This direction we are issuing in the light of the right to life guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution of India, which the Government is bound to provide. It is not the case of the respondents that qualified Oncologists are not available in the State of Jammu and Kashmir and even if they are not available it is for the State to get the services of Oncologists from the neighbouring States”, the DB said, adding “this direction shall be complied by the Commissioner/Secretary Health and Medical Education Department within period of two weeks from the date of receipt of this order”.
Regarding installation of PET machines the Division Bench made clear to the Commissioner /Secretary Health and Medical Education Department to take the necessary steps to get the scan equipment installed in all the Medical Colleges.
“The issue is to be taken note of with all seriousness and same shall be provided in all the Government Medical Colleges, where cancer patients are to be treated, within a period of six months”, the DB further directed while disposing of the PIL.