The Seven Cancer-Care Hospitals Inaugurated In Assam Today Are More Important For The State And Region Than You May Think

by Swarajya Staff - Apr 28, 2022 04:54 PM +05:30 IST
The Seven Cancer-Care Hospitals Inaugurated In Assam Today Are More Important For The State And Region Than You May ThinkPrime Minister Narendra Modi and Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma at Dibrugarh Cancer Centre.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated seven state-of-art cancer care centres from the Assam Medical College and Hospital at Dibrugarh in Upper Assam, today (28 April).

Why it matters: Assam in the previous decades became notorious as the ‘cancer capital of India’. In Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma’s own words:

  • Cancer care in Assam, and the entire region, was rudimentary.

  • There was a severe shortage of oncologists, nurses, technicians, equipment and infrastructure.

  • Most patients used to, and still do, get to know about their cancer only at an advanced stage, and then rush to cancer hospitals in the rest of the country.

Things started moving for the better only in 2016, when a BJP government under Sarbananda Sonowal came to office in Assam and Sarma was appointed as the Health Minister.

  • Although he had served as Health Minister even in the previous Congress regime of Tarun Gogoi, it was only 2016 onwards that substantial progress was made towards creating and upgrading cancer-care facilities.

Among the first things that Sarma did was to lead the state government to partner with Tata Trusts in setting up and equipping cancer hospitals and care centres.

  • As a result, the Assam Cancer Care Foundation (ACCF), was set up in December 2017 to create a three-level cancer grid in Assam.

  • The aim of this grid is to take affordable and standardised treatment closer home to patients.

  • The Foundation will also focus on creating awareness against cancer, its early detection and prevention, and developing trained human resources.

Ultimately, Assam will have 17 advanced cancer hospitals ready by 2024.

  • Apart from the seven cancer hospitals he inaugurated, Prime Minister Modi laid the foundation stones (virtually) of seven more such hospitals.

  • Additionally, three cancer hospitals are nearing completion and will be operational by the end of this year.

  • Apart from the 17 cancer hospitals, a state-of-the-art cancer research centre is also coming up in the state capital Guwahati.

In four years’ time, Sarma expects that Assam will become the hub for cancer treatment in not just the Indian subcontinent but also in Southeast Asia.

Read a detailed report on this here.

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