The health department has failed to complete in time the cancer awareness campaign-cum-survey, which was launched on December 1 with much enthusiasm.
The health department was to complete the survey by December 31 and submit the report to state health and family welfare department. However, it will take another week for the department to complete the survey in Sangrur and Barnala districts.
In Sangrur district, 95% of the 16 lakh people has been covered under the survey and residents of Moonak and Koharian blocks remain to be covered. Civil surgeon Dr HS Bali said survey would be over in three or four days. He said there was delay due to shortage of field staff, especially after Asha workers boycotted the campaign.
"The survey went well in the first week when Asha workers did take part in the campaign at many places across the district. But later on, their boycotted it, resulting in delay," Dr Bali said.
Asha workers had decided to boycott the campaign as Rs. 1 per house remuneration fixed by the health department was not acceptable to them.
Nursing students of different institutions also participated in the survey but they had been assigned job to cover people only in localities.
In Barnala, health officials cited same reasons for delay in completing the survey. "Had Asha workers cooperated with us, survey would have been completed within 15 days. Still, we have covered approximately 5.70 lakh people out of 6 lakh population," said Barnala civil surgeon Dr Baldev Raj.
As per survey report compiled by December 13, as many as 1,307 deaths have been recorded in Sangrur, besides 913 confirmed and 4,596 suspected cases of cancer disease.
In Barnala, besides 419 deaths, 633 suspected and 330 confirmed cases have been reported.
However, it was not on records that the said deaths were due to cancer. The suspected cases have been figured out on the basis of 12 symptoms related to cancer.