Centre’s virtual training in palliative care for North-East doctors starts in Tripura

Tripura, a state where every 150 persons out of 3,000 are detected with cancer, started receiving the first-ever virtual training of doctors for palliative care in north-eastern India Tuesday for providing better care for terminally-ill patients, including those suffering from cancer.

The progamme aims to train doctors and caregivers in providing necessary support to ensure optimisation of quality of life for the patients.

Majority of the cases are mouth and throat cancer cases due to traditional use of chewing tobacco by the natives in the region.

National Health Mission’s (NHM) state director Dr Subhasis Das told reporters, “This is a unique training programme in north-east India. Palliative care is crucial since it allows us to provide a certain amount of relief to patients with terminal diseases. There are some specific medicines and protocols which can allow the patients to live the rest of their lives in a better way”.

He also said that apart from those with cancer, patients suffering from cardio-vascular diseases, strokes, brain strokes, which cause paralysis in parts of the body apart from different complications in the human body, could benefit from the training.

The training progamme by NHM, in collaboration with Echo India and Tripura’s Atal Bhari Vajpayee Regional Cancer Centre, is using training modules drawn from the spirit of central government’s National Programme of Palliative Care, which caters to the needs of home-bound patients.

Dr Aroop Roy Barman, oncologist and head of the virtual training for palliative care, said the doctors with the NHM, state health services, those engaged with the Medical College as well as medicos who are engaged in private workspaces would be trained in a phased manner. He said national-level experts would be sharing insights on their respective fields that would benefit doctors in the state to upgrade their caregiving abilities.

Tripura now has 60-70 cancer patients in every 1 lakh people, against 100 cancer patients in every one lakh people in the national average. However, the neighbouring state of Mizoram has an average of 200 cancer cases per lakh, one of the highest in the country.

According to the health department, 2,500 fresh cancer cases are registered in Tripura annually, against the estimated 3,000 cases.The rest 500 are understood to not register themselves with the health services due to lack of awareness.

However, experts feel the number of people in need of care is expected to be over 10,000, including cancer survivors.

Earlier in February, Tripura started eight cancer screening centres for early detection of the disease and boosting life expectancy of patients.

The screening centres were to be opened in different districts, including the areas along the National Highway-04 at Dharmanagar and Kumarghat in North Tripura, Dhalai district, Udaipur district hospital at Gomati district, Jolaibari Community Health Centre (CHC) at South Tripura and the regional cancer centre at Agartala.

A house to house survey is also being held across all eight districts for collecting data of high-risk persons and bringing them for diagnosis to the hospital.

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