• Truck smashes into bus in Argentina killing 18
  • Child dies in Moghbazar slum fire
  • First Sochi medals up for grabs after lavish opening
  • ICC board approves controversial reforms
  • Action against attackers of Hindu houses, temples: PM
  • SSC, equivalent exams begin Sunday
  • Second Bangladesh-Sri Lanka Test drawn
  • BSF detains Bangladeshi, hands over to Indian police
  • Body of missing JP leader recovered
  • Govt illegal, to be ousted thru’ movement: BNP
  • Begum Zia is ‘queen of destruction’: PM
HOME  MAIN NEWS
  
Print Friendly and PDF

Disproportionate treatment facilities for cancer patients

465 beds against 12 lakh patients: study

Ahmed Shatil Alam

The facilities available for treatment of cancer in the country is widely disproportionate to the spread of the disease, say healthcare experts working in the field.
According to them, the country is heavily short on treatment centers, radiation facilities, doctors and physicists, leaving the approximately 12 to 13 lakh cancer patients, already burdened by high cost of treatment, in a lurch.
A recent study titled ‘Comprehensive update on cancer scenario of Bangladesh’, carried out by former BSMMU Oncology department chair Syed M Akram Hossain, published in the WHO South-East Asia Journal of Public Health  in October 2013, estimates that cancer treatment is only available in 19 hospitals in the country, which have a total of 465 beds.
Furthermore, there are only 27 radiation machines while there are 150 oncologists for the hundreds of thousands of patients, say experts.
There are nearly 35 public and private hospitals, including National Institute of Cancer Research and Hospital, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University, Dhaka Medical College and Hospital, Khwaja Yunus Ali Medical College and Hospital in Sirajganj, who provide treatment to the cancer patients, say medical health professionals.
Hossain said the main victims of this situation are people from rural areas as most hospitals are based in Dhaka and a few other divisional cities like Chittagong, Rajshahi etc.
Furthermore, there are only 27 radiotherapy machines in the country. 
NICRH director Sk Golam Mostafa told New Age that nine government hospitals and four private hospitals in the country have the linear accelerator machines used for radiotherapy.
‘This is too inadequate as we need around 150 linear accelerator machines,’ he said.
BSMMU oncology department chair Sarwar Alam said there are only 14 telecobalt machines – another machine used for radiotherapy, which is also insufficient.
Sarwar said because of a shortage of equipments, most hospitals are restricted to providing patients with only medication support.
Meanwhile, the study states that Bangladesh has only 150 qualified clinical oncologists and 16 pediatric oncologists.
Syed M Akram Hossain, while speaking to New Age, roughly calculated the ratio of cancer patients to doctors in the country at 1:0.000137.
Besides, unavailability of trained medical physicists, who administer radiotherapy, creates further problems for patients. 
Sarwar speculates cancer is currently the second highest killer in Bangladesh, as well as the world, though there are only three government appointed physicists in Bangladesh who are working at BSMMU, while the total physicists might be around 30 to35.
The remainder are mostly working at private hospitals like KYAMCH, Square and United Hospital etc.
Besides the BSMMU, a few physicists are working contractually with the NICRH, informed NICRH officials.
Palliative care, which helps patients alleviate their suffering, is an essential part of cancer treatment all over the world, whereas in Bangladesh, there are only two state-owned palliative care centers at BSMMU and NICRH, besides a few more in the private sector, said Sarwar.
Meanwhile, the experts also said that the high cost of cancer treatment is leaving many poor, and eventually even middle class people, out of treatment.
Akram said a cancer patient need a minimum of Tk four to five lakh to get proper treatment, including surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy, which is beyond the reach of most people in the country.
He also said cancer medicines are costly for most patients.
According to pharmacists, a cycle of chemotherapy drugs ranges from Tk 24,000 to Tk 1, 66,000. At the moment, the price of medicines of a cycle produced by Sanofi Bangladesh Limited is Tk 1, 66,000, BEACON Pharmaceuticals Limited is Tk 28,000, Roche Bangladesh Ltd is Tk 32, 000 and Techno Drugs is Tk 24,000.
Added to this are a number of other supportive drugs required during treatment.
The experts urged the government to provide subsidy to cancer drugs and initiate a proper health insurance policy immediately to reduce the sufferings of underprivileged patients. 




Reader’s Comment

comments powered by Disqus
   

Current legal regime makes trial difficult

It is very difficult to try a doctor or medical practitioner for medical negligence under the currently available legal framework, according to a study study rights organisation Ain o Salish Kendra carried out. According to... Full story

Tenure completed without women members

The third Upazila councils have completed their full five-year tenure without having women members as the Election Commission could not hold elections for over 1,500 reserved posts for women members in Upazila Parishads. Full story

Law enforcers keep flouting HC order

Law enforcement agencies and forces such as the Coast Guard keep flouting a High Court of 2012 on how people arrested and accused in cases should be presented before the media. Even after a year when the High... Full story

Disproportionate treatment facilities for cancer patients

The facilities available for treatment of cancer in the country is widely disproportionate to the spread of the disease, say healthcare experts working in the field. According to them, the country is heavily short on treatment... Full story

BNP attaches top priority to upazila polls

The Bangladesh Nationalist Party is attaching top priority to upazila council elections to elbow their way to grass-roots political turf so that the party can pressure the government to hold fresh general elections without delay, party sources said. Full story

AL to convince rebel candidates

The ruling Awami League would not take immediate organisational action against the party’s rebel candidates contesting the elections in many Upazila Parishads, rather it has taken the strategy to persuade them to back the single... Full story

Blow for Pakistan talks as Taliban negotiator pulls out

Pakistan’s fledgling peace talks with the Taliban suffered a fresh blow Friday as a negotiator for the militants said he would take no further part until the agenda included the imposition of Islamic sharia law. The intervention from firebrand cleric Maulana Abdul Aziz... Full story
  • Online Poll


    Do you think that the government has successfully brought back normalcy in public life after the January 5 elections?

    • Yes
    • No
    • No comment
    Ajax Loader