Meghalaya Health Minister Dr M Ampareen Lyngdoh on Monday said the health department will conduct a consolidated Audit of its services in the state.
Addressing Mediapersons at the sideline of the Meghalaya Cancer conclave, the health Minister said “The audit will be done of the machinery and equipment, manpower availability including nursing staffs and technicians.”
Dr Lyngdoh called for introspection of the department.
In a first-of-its-kind initiative, the Meghalaya Cancer Conclave 2024 witnessed the coming together of oncologists, researchers, scholars, NGOs, industry leaders, government officials, and media representatives organized by the Meghalaya Government in partnership with the Apollo Telemedicine Networking Foundation (ATNF), facilitated by the Meghalaya State Cancer Society.
The two day conclave was held in Shillong on 12th February 2024, under the theme “Closing the Care Gap.” The conclave will conclude on 13 February.
Chief Guest on the occasion was Minister in charge of Health and Family Welfare Dr. Mazel Ampareen Lyngdoh.
Addressing the gathering, Dr. Lyngdoh announced that the entire month of February, the Government of Meghalaya will dedicate to Cancer. Stating that Cancer is no longer a Shillong centric threat, Ampareen said, “It is a disease that is enveloping very quickly and is affecting more households in the state of Meghalaya today.”
The Minister said, “In one month, we will talk about cancer and see the difficulties of cancer and see what can be done as we do not believe in one day observation of day against cancer. There will be month long discussion.”
She further emphasized the need for unity among stakeholders to effectively address the challenge of cancer. The Minister stressed the importance of action over mere discussions, advocating for the extension of the Meghalaya Health Insurance Scheme (MHIS) to provide financial assistance to affected families.
Dr. Lyngdoh said, “I appeal to all stakeholders that unless we unite, this challenge will persistently confront us. We must stop discussions; we have to act. The Meghalaya Health Insurance Scheme (MHIS) must extend its reach to every affected family and individual grappling with cancer. Ensuring adequate funding is essential to provide financial assistance for cancer patients.”
“ We must streamline procedures and eliminate unnecessary formalities for all cancer patients. Prevention is paramount, and early detection is key to combating this dreadful disease. Every citizen of the state should be relieved of the burden of cancer care, and patients must feel secure during their treatment,” She added.
A Young survivor during Covid was diagnosed with medulo blastoma, a tumor in the brain with the involvement of the spinal cord. His mother stated, “For parents like us, who had lost hope, to even see a future with our son, we are very happy now that our son is undergoing treatment. We were able to surpass the hardships, and we are very thankful to the doctors and nurses and the staff. We should not be afraid from getting ourselves screened and undertaking the necessary treatments.”
A cancer survivor, Smti Yasmine Lyngdoh, who was diagnosed with cancer during her childhood, reflected on the need of taking the campaign to the rural areas. She said with hope, “I hope everybody will get proper treatment, because we all deserve it.”
Another cancer survivor, Smti Warimeki Lyngwa, shared her story and reflected on the importance of awareness on removing taboo on cancer. She said, “I think having this conclave will help people discuss the issues that a lot of cancer patients are facing at grassroots level. I hope that this conclave will be very constructive.”
The Meghalaya Cancer Conclave 2024 served as a pivotal platform for exchanging ideas, sharing knowledge, and fostering partnerships aimed at improving cancer care accessibility and outcomes for communities across Meghalaya.
Sampath Kumar IAS, Principal Secretary, Department of Health & Family Welfare, lauded the Meghalaya Health Insurance Scheme’s contribution to universal health coverage.
He added, “Meghalaya Health Insurance Scheme is one of the first, you know, insurance schemes, which aims to provide universal health coverage, UHC. I am telling you, not even big countries, like developed countries have not done universal health coverage, UHC. But Meghalaya aimed to do it. The beauty is that we aimed to do it. Statistically speaking, through the MHIS premium, the State Government paid about 165 crores to the insurance company. And the claims are 200 crores. And almost close to 2 lakh households have taken MHIS. And the government spent about, you know, almost like close to 200 crores. So, that means each family would have taken almost Rs 10,000 as benefit from the insurance program, etc. Maternal deaths have come down by 50 percent in the last 3 years; it is the sharpest decline in any part of the world.”
Secretary of Health & FW, Ram Kumar S, IAS, outlined the comprehensive anti-tobacco program implemented by the government and emphasized the importance of grassroots-level engagement in promoting tobacco cessation and early detection initiatives.