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NHRC notice to Centre, states over healthcare for breast cancer patients

The human rights panel sought an action taken report on the alleged lack of healthcare facilities for breast cancer in Central Government Health Scheme (CGHS) empanelled hospitals.

Statesman News Service | BHUBANESWAR |

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has issued notices to the Centre and states including Odisha and sought an action taken report on the alleged lack of healthcare facilities for breast cancer in Central Government Health Scheme (CGHS) empanelled hospitals.

Acting on two separate petitions filed by human rights lawyer Radhakanta Tripathy, the apex rights panel passed the order yesterday.

“The Commission directs its Registry to transmit the copy of complaint to the Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Govt. of India and Director General, CGHS, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Govt. of India  calling for an action taken report within four weeks”, NHRC directed.

The petitioner had requested the Commission to take up the matter with the various stakeholders/authorities for providing succor and relief to the first stage breast cancer patients in the country.

The Endo Predict Recurrence Test is conducted by MYRIAD GENETICS INC, USA, as the only facility in the world, as a genomic test for people with early stage, estrogen-receptor positive HER2- negative first stage breast cancer patients.  This test could help 30 percent of patients in India to avoid painful Chemotherapy procedures. However, the test is not included in the list of tests approved by the Ministry of Health, Government of India for CGHS beneficiaries. Even, no committee appears to have been constituted to examine the cost-benefit aspect, the petition maintained.

The petition also highlighted the issues related to the functioning of private hospitals, empanelled by the Central Government Health Scheme for providing treatment to CGHS beneficiaries.

There is no mechanism of a check on functioning of these empanelled hospitals on issues concerning their infrastructure, quality care, in-house testing and levying of exorbitant charges, it added.