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Govt to upgrade equipment for cancer detection

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By Our Reporter

SHILLONG, June 12: Health Minister Ampareen Lyngdoh on Wednesday said the state government is trying to acquire a PET CT Scan machine, which is crucial for detecting cancer cells in the body.
She said this during a Cancer Survivor’s Day event at the Civil Hospital.
“What we are going to do right now is see if such a facility can be immediately installed in our hospitals, and if we have the expertise and space to do it,” she said, adding that she plans to seek an appointment with the Central Health Ministry to discuss this initiative.
“Having seen the formation of the new government, we need to operationalise the cancer wing at NEIGRIHMS,” she emphasised.
The PET CT Scan comes with its own set of requirements, specialised doctors, technicians and a whole lot of money.
Anisha Mawlong, Head of the Oncology Department at Shillong Civil Hospital, highlighted the need for specialists if the state acquires a PET CT scan, including a nuclear medicine specialist and technicians.
“We will need a doctor and technicians specialised in nuclear medicine apart from an RSO (Radiation Safety Officer). I hope in the years to come, we can come up with our department of nuclear medicine, which PET CT Scan is a part of,” she said.
Lyngdoh also addressed the challenges related to the MHIS scheme. “Under this scheme, we are trying to give cashless treatment to all cancer patients, but I am informed that this is not happening for every citizen. Systematic changes are there in our system, and this entire problem of Aadhaar linkage needs to be corrected at the earliest,” she said.
Several initiatives by the government to collaborate with private hospitals for specialised doctors and technicians have not borne any fruit so far.
Lyngdoh stressed the importance of external help to overcome existing challenges. “Collaboration comes with a cost. Collaboration would not have been an option if we were a self-sufficient state. But we do not even have enough experts,” she said.
She pointed out the community’s reluctance to accept external experts that hampers potential collaborations. “If an expert has to come to Meghalaya and you have a resistant community, what’s the use of talking about collaborations?” she asked, appealing to the people to be more open-minded.
Lyngdoh said the state cannot keep locking out external experts from certain sectors.
She highlighted recent successes and mentioned positive responses from institutions such as CMC and Chennai, leading to better-trained doctors through training programmes.
“We now have better-trained doctors through a six-month training programme or a one-year training programme. But those doctors now are in the system where we had a major shortfall,” she explained.
The health minister also underscored the need for stakeholder engagement to ensure productive and acceptable collaborations.
“We need to sit down with all stakeholders and find out what it is they want us to do,” she said, adding that understanding and acceptance from stakeholders are crucial to avoid negative outcome.

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