SILCHAR, Oct 8: The North Eastern part of India is replete with challenges in respect of health care system because of the geophysical terrain. Cancer rates in North East is much higher than other parts of the country, lot of the cause due to life style habits, said Dr Soumya Swaminathan, the newly appointed Deputy Director General for programmes at the World Health Organisation. “We need to identify the factors in the diet and look for preventive intervention which can minimise the burden on the patients,” Dr Swaminathan said while delivering the Dr S Krishnamurthi memorial lecture on “How health research and data can improve health systems” recently at the Cachar Cancer Hospital (CCH) Silchar. Reacting on the issue of infant mortality which shook Barpeta recently and also there was a major concern at Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh earlier this year and in Karimganj Civil Hospital in 2012, the noted pediatrician and the Director General of ICMR emphasised upon the need for in-depth analysis of events which lead to such catastrophic situation. 

“We must not limit our investigation into looking for the immediate occurrences in the hospitals during the period of the incident. We need to find the root cause of the problems and herein the health data provided by the District Administration could be of immense help to the cause,” Dr Swaminathan underlined. She was quick to add that instead of going for a quick investigation of what happened in the hospitals during the period when the incident took place we must look at the determinants, the developments in the community, whether antinatal care is provided to the women giving birth to children, a closer look on the quality of the delivery system, why are the new born children falling sick, and such other underlying causes. Further, congratulating senior oncologist and director of Cachar Cancer Hospital Dr R Ravi Kannan and his team of doctors for maintaining a holistic approach to cancer treatment, Dr Swaminathan said “we need to have a preventive and promotive health care attitude rather than looking for curative medicines.” She added to comment that women should give value to their own health and overcome the stigmas related to cancer which is 80 per cent curable, if detected in the initial stages. 

However, the DDG expressed disappointment over the lack of equipments at the hospitals and primary health centres saying that lack of a list of essential diagnostics in hospitals is unfortunately a weak link in the health systems. Dr KP Chakraborty, president of the CCH Society along with Cachar Deputy Commissioner Dr S Laxmanan and Dr R Ravi Kannan handed over a memento to Dr Swaminathan on the occasion. While the Deputy Commissioner lauded the efforts of the hospital in rendering service to the people in Barak Valley, Dr Ravi Kannan gave a brief account the journey of the hospital.

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