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Bengal's own cancer centre to come up inside CMCH campus

Kolkata: In a unique initiative, the Bengal government is planning to set up a state-of-the-art cancer centre inside the Calcutta Medical College and Hospital (CMCH) campus, along the lines of AIIMS in Delhi, with an objective of providing affordable and accessible health care facilities to the patients suffering from cancer in the eastern parts of India.
The proposed 'State Cancer Centre' will have all the modern facilities for comprehensive care and diagnosis of cancer. It will be the first state government owned dedicated cancer centre, coming up as an annex part of the CMCH. The construction of the 'State Cancer Centre' is expected to start from May this year.
According to sources, the facilities will include surgical oncology, medical oncology, neuromedicine, neurosurgery, nuclear medicine, preventive oncology, radiotherapy, cancer diagnostics etc.
Among the state-of-the-art facilities, the proposed cancer centre will have nuclear medicine, a facility available only in Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai and All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Delhi.
CMCH, which caters to a huge number of patients from different parts of the state and also from some neighbouring states, has a very high patient load. A sizeable number of cancer patients visit various state-run hospitals, having financial constraints. They are not able to afford to go to private hospitals.
The new campus has been envisaged to meet the objectives of affordable and accessible health care for the poor patients suffering from the disease.
Touted to come up as a world-class hospital for treating cancer patients, the 'State Cancer Centre' will be set up on a plot situated between the Principal Office and MCH building at CMCH. It would be a seven-storeyed building, where all the cancer-related treatment would be available under one roof. Each floor would have an area of 8,000 square feet. The building will have two basements, having a capacity of 600 square metres each. The cost of the proposed cancer centre is yet to be confirmed.
"The new initiative will prove to be immensely beneficial for the patients from the state. It would cater to the Eastern and North Eastern states as well. The project has already received administrative approval and the construction work is expected to begin within May this year," an official said.
It may be mentioned that after coming to power, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had laid a great stress on infrastructural revamp at all the state-run medical colleges and hospitals. She directed the state Health department to provide health care facilities completely free of cost at all government hospitals.
The fair price medicine shops were introduced so that the patients can buy costly medicines including those for cancer, at subsidised rates. The initiative to set up the dedicated cancer centre at CMCH was taken by Dr Nirmal Maji, Chairman of Rogi Kalyan Samiti, following the instruction of the Chief Minister, who is also in charge of the Health department.
Prof Dr Ashok Kumar Bhadra, Principal of CMCH, said: "The State Cancer Centre will have state-of-the-art facilities, including nuclear medicine. Setting up of a dedicated cancer centre will open a new chapter in the state government's initiative against cancer."
Cancer is emerging as a major public health concern in India. Cancer treatment facilities in India are lagging behind when compared to World Health Organisation (WHO) standards, which require one radiotherapy machine per one million people. India at present has 0.41 machines per million people.

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