Baramulla, Aug 11: The Government Medical College (GMC) Baramulla has transformed into a vital cancer treatment hub for the residents of north Kashmir, offering a beacon of hope for those grappling with the disease.
The establishment of the Oncology Department three years ago has marked a turning point, considerably reducing the burden on patients who previously had to travel to Srinagar’s tertiary care hospitals for treatment.
The GMC Baramulla’s Oncology Department operates a dedicated Out-Patient Department (OPD) six days a week, providing crucial support and care to cancer patients.
This initiative has emerged as a promising alternative, saving patients from the arduous journey to Srinagar for therapy or palliative care.
Since its inception, the department has catered to a significant number of patients from the three districts of north Kashmir – Baramulla, Kupwara, and Bandipora.
The hospital offers chemotherapy and palliative care management, serving 173 registered cancer patients over the past three years.
The numbers paint a clear picture of the department's positive impact, with 52 patients treated in 2021, 76 in 2022, and 45 in the current year.
Talking to Greater Kashmir, Head of the Department (HOD) Radio Oncology, Government Medical College (GMC) Baramulla, Prof Muhammad Maqbool said that the patients are provided all the health benefits at the hospital.
“The patients here are provided medicines besides all the health benefits under one roof. The patient flow is also progressing with each day. We have a trained staff here which takes care of palliative cases as well,” he said.
Remarkably, the hospital has conducted 1016 follow-up sessions with patients during this period, ensuring comprehensive care.
The dedicated medical staff administered 261 chemotherapy cycles and managed 19 palliative care cases, exemplifying their commitment to patient wellbeing.
Muhammad Akram, whose father was diagnosed with cancer in 2022, expressed his gratitude for the newfound facility.
He said that the GMC Baramulla’s chemotherapy services had provided a ray of hope and relief for countless cancer patients and their families.
“The facility has not only saved time but also alleviated the mental anguish that often accompanies cancer treatment,” Akram said.
While the department's presence has been a boon for cancer patients, the absence of certain facilities, such as Radiotherapy, remains a concern.
Patients still need to travel to Srinagar for radiotherapy, highlighting an area for potential improvement.
Besides, the department needs a better infrastructure in the hospital, as the current infrastructure is not sufficient to cater to all the patients from north Kashmir.
The department has two trained nurses, a professor, and other faculty members.
This team’s efforts have underscored the hospital’s commitment to enhancing healthcare services in the region.
The hospital is also collaborating with the Tata Memorial Hospital Mumbai after the J&K administration recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the hospital.
The Tata Memorial Hospital provides all the support GMC Baramulla needs which include equipment and patient care assistance besides providing training to the staff.
The hospital in a bid to extend its area of learning recently held a webinar with the British-based Kashmiri Medical Association in which international speakers spoke on palliative care management.
The staff of the department termed the webinar a great learning experience and expressed hope of similar future engagements, which provide a great learning experience as well as exposure to latest developments in the field.
The department stands as a symbol of progress and hope for cancer patients in north Kashmir.
With its comprehensive care approach, it has significantly eased the burden on patients and their families, marking a positive stride towards improved healthcare accessibility and outcomes in the region.
Medical Superintendent GMC Baramulla Associated Hospital, Dr Parvaiz Masoodi told Greater Kashmir that patients had a lot of expectations on the Oncology department.
“The department will soon start Radio Oncology too as the matter has been taken up with the higher authorities. The department also needs a separate building which will be taken care of in the near future,” he said.