Private sector needs to partner with government to provide modern cancer treatment facilities in rural areas: Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu

New Delhi : The Vice President, M Venkaiah Naidu today 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 North-Eastern States, arrived in Guwahati this morning. He was received by the Governor, Chief Minister and other dignitaries.

Inaugurating a PET-MRI wing at the State Cancer Institute, he 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.

Referring to the step-down cancer care model called the Distributed Cancer Care Model, which the Assam government proposes to implement in partnership with Tata Trusts, he advised other States to emulate it for providing timely and effective treatment to cancer patients.

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’.

He said the COVID-19 pandemic has taught important lessons and the foremost among them was to maintain good health and develop immunity. Stressing the importance of leading a disciplined lifestyle, he said undertaking regular physical activity, avoiding unhealthy diet and substances that are harmful to one’s health play a critical role in the overall well-being of a person. “In fact, they are important in preventing the growing incidence of various non-communicable diseases, including cancer”, the Vice President emphasized.

The Vice President lauded the Assam government and the state’s medical fraternity for the services rendered during COVID. 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 atleast one medical college in each district of the country.

Later, the Vice President interacted with a group of 20 eminent personalities from Assam who made significant contributions in the field of science, literature, education, sports, music and arts.

Praising the achievers for their hard work, perseverance, focus and dedication, the Vice President described them as true Karmayogis who exemplified excellence in their respective fields. “You have become a role model for others and your life inspires the youth to achieve the best,” he told them.

Stating that India has no dearth of talent, Shri Naidu asked the achievers to guide and mentor the deserving and aspiring youngsters in the true spirit of Guru-Shishya Parampara. Referring to the cultural performance – ‘Bihu Adoroni’ he witnessed earlier at the Heritage Centre at Brahmaputra, Shri Naidu said he was mesmerized by the beautiful culture and tradition of Assam.

Assam Governor, Prof. Jagdish Mukhi, Assam Chief Minister, Shri Himanta Biswa Sarma, Minister of Health & Family Welfare, Govt. of Assam, Keshab Mahanta, Chief Secretary of Assam, Shri Jishnu Barua and others were present during the event.