Pvt sector needs to partner with govt to treat cancer in rural areas: VP

(IANS): Vice President of India M. Venkaiah Naidu on Sunday called upon the private sector to come forward and partner with the state governments to provide modern cancer treatment facilities in the rural areas.

The Vice President, who embarked on an eight-day tour of the northeastern states, while inaugurating a PET-MRI wing at the state Cancer Institute in Guwahati, said that it would not only greatly help in more accurate diagnosis, but will also reduce patients’ exposure to radiation. It is only the 4th such machine in India and the first in the country, which is based on Time-of-Flight technology.

The Vice President lauded the Assam government and the state’s medical fraternity for the services rendered during the pandemic. He also called for making healthcare more accessible and affordable to the common man. In this regard, he reiterated the Prime Minister’s statement that there is a need to have at least one medical college in each district of the country.

Under the Distributed Cancer Care Model, it is planned to have one Apex Referral Centre called L1, Comprehensive Cancer Hospitals attached to Government Medical Colleges called L2s and Diagnostic and Day Care Centres with Radiation adjacent to District hospitals called L3s.

Referring to the aim to create patient-centric cancer institutions to deliver standardized and affordable care closer to the patients’ homes, instead of a single apex hospital handling a cancer patient’s treatment, Naidu noted that they would provide high-quality cancer care closer to home and reduce out-of-pocket expenses for cancer patients.

The Vice President said palliative care was a crucial area that required greater attention of the governments and health professionals. “Palliative care is basically supportive care and seeks to improve the quality of life of patients,” he added.

Naidu also urged all the state governments to include lessons on the importance of adopting healthy lifestyles in the school curricula to make children aware of the need to prevent non-communicable diseases. He called for a national campaign to bring awareness among people about ‘lifestyle diseases’.

As per the Indian Council of Medical Research report, there were 14 lakh new cancer cases in 2020 and this number is estimated to rise to 16 lakh by 2025. “I am told that the northeastern region of India has a huge burden of cancer with Papum Pare district of Arunachal Pradesh reporting the highest incidence of the disease in India. Assam also has a high burden of cancer with around 52,000 new cases reported in 2020,” he said.

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