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Bir Hospital forced to turn away cancer patients

Bir Hospital forced to turn away cancer patients

8 August, Kathmandu:

The number of new cancer patients visiting the Bir Hospital has declined sharply after the radiation machine at the Department of Clinical Oncology broke down.

Department Chief, Dr Bibek Acharya, said cobalt sources and compressor of the machine brought some 22 years ago have become dysfunctional triggering a sharp decline in cancer patients’ admission.

The cancer patients visiting the country’s oldest hospital have fallen to 30 to 40 from 60 to 70 on an average day, Dr Acharya said.

The Department’s doctors have complained that the government and the concerned ministry have not shown any interest in purchasing a new machine even though the hospital is forced to turn away many patients of poor economic background visiting the hospital from different parts of the country.

National Academy of Medical Sciences (NAMS) Vice Chancellor, Dr Ganesh Gurung, said the medical students studying cancer are also facing problems after the machine went haywire. We have sent a letter to the Health Ministry again for purchasing a machine.

A new high end radiation machine would cost around Rs 150 million. Dr Gurung added that it would take at least 5 to 6 months once the process starts to purchase a machine.

More than 30,000 Nepali people suffer from various forms of cancer every year, said Dr Sandhya Chapagain, adding more than 70 per cent of the patients are treated through radiation therapy.

There are only four hospitals in Nepal which can treat cancer patients through radiation. Bir Hospital, Bhaktapur Cancer Hospital, Bharatpur Cancer Hospital and Manipal Hospital based in Pokhara use radiation therapy to treat cancer.

Bir Hospital offers the radiation treatment at the most affordable price among these hospitals, according to Dr Chapagain. In the last fiscal year a total of 7,877 cancer patients visited Bir Hospital. RSS

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