May 31, 2017

Government of Assam and Tata Trusts collaborate to offer comprehensive cancer care delivery in the state

Linkage with National Cancer Grid to provide quality treatment that will reduce economic, physical, and mental burden on cancer patients in Assam

From L-R; Lakshman Sethuraman, Head-Project Management Group, Tata Trusts, R Venkataramanan, Managing Trustee, Tata Trusts, Shri Himanta Biswa Sarma, Hon’ble Minister of Health & Family Welfare, Government of Assam, Samir Sinha, Principal Secretary, Health & Family Welfare Department, Government of Assam, and Dr. Anup Kumar Burman, Director, Medical Education, Government of Assam at the MoU signing ceremony towards Comprehensive Cancer Care in Assam.

Guwahati: Government of Assam and Tata Trusts, today, signed a Memorandum of Understanding to deliver comprehensive cancer care and ensure affordable quality treatment of cancer patients in the state. Assam is among the states that has the highest per capita burden of cancer in India. The collaboration will endeavor to strengthen cancer care system and reduce economic burden of cancer treatment across the state.

The Memorandum of Understanding was signed under the presence of Shri. Himanta Biswa Sarma, Hon’ble Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Government of Assam along with Mr. R. Venkataramanan, Managing Trustee, Tata Trusts. The MoU envisions the use of technology through a network that will provide preventive services to prioritize disease and palliative services, and reduce the economic, mental, and physical burden on patients. Besides integrating the new programme with the existing plans and programmes of the state, the Trusts will also advise the government on all aspects related to cancer control.

Under the partnership, Tata Trusts will assist in training personnel for cancer care, set up a Management Information System, facilitate leverage of national schemes, and advise on the procurement of medical supplies and ancillary services. The Trusts will work in both, preventive and curative aspects of the dreaded disease. This includes training doctors, nurses, and technicians across different specialized disciplines, creating awareness within communities, guiding the at-risk population in the state to get screened at medical facilities in their areas; and following up with diagnosed patients to ensure that they are getting the required treatment. While the initial trainings will be conducted at the Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai and Tata Medical Centre, Kolkata, subsequent batches will be trained at the National Cancer Grid centres in Assam. Additionally, a state level ‘Steering Committee’ will be constituted to govern and guide the program.

Shri. Himanta Biswa Sarma, Hon’ble Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Government of Assam said, "We are here today to sign a MoU between the Government of Assam and Tata Trusts with a new vision. We have spoken about state-level cancer care in 2012. Today, we are here to discuss something more visionary, more futuristic about cancer care at a district level. With their vast and varied experience, Tata Trusts will support us with full extend possible in enabling the provision of quality oncology services. I would like to express my deep appreciation to Tata Trusts, who are committed to establishing comprehensive cancer care in collaboration with Government of Assam."

Mr. Ramadorai, Chairman, Governing Body, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, said, “I am pleased to see the vision of shifting quality cancer services from tertiary centers to district hospitals under the visionary leadership of the Health Minister Shri Biswa Sarma. This coupled with a focus on prevention will definitely ease the overall cancer burden on the state.”

Mr. R. Venkataramanan, Managing Trustee, Tata Trusts, said, “Today, we move beyond our conventional ways of looking at cancer care and models like this will go a long way to promote a new generation of treatment and cure. Today also happens to be World Anti-Tobacco Day – the malice of tobacco is directly related to almost 40% of the cancer-related cases in the country. While we focus and emphasize on the treatment and cure, we also need to work jointly to increase focus on prevention of cancer. A tobacco free Assam will see at least a 50% reduction in the cancer burden of Assam within the next 10-15 years.”

BC Goswami, Director, Cancer Hospital, Guwahati Medical College said, “This MoU now empowers Assam with cancer care at a district level – a truly significant development for the State. We are extremely gratefully to Tata Trusts for their commitment towards cancer care in Assam. All of us key stakeholders need to collaborate in order to control this dreaded disease.”

Recognizing the centrality of infrastructure to cancer service delivery and the shortage of the same in the country, the Trusts with various partners are in the process of conceiving and setting up or upgrading various super specialty centers across the nation with the objective of decentralizing cancer care in the country. As one of the key enablers of the National Cancer Grid, a forum of over 100 cancer hospitals, Tata Trusts has access to experts across these centers to strengthen its various cancer initiatives. The

Using technology to battle the consequences of this deadly disease, Tata Trusts are ensuring that health workers get adequately trained to spread awareness regarding cancer, promote early detection and build prevention systems aimed at reducing cancer cases in Assam.

Tata Trusts have been working in cancer care for several decades across a spectrum of activities, ranging from the setting up of pioneering institutions such as the Tata Memorial Hospital in 1941 and Tata Medical Center, Kolkata in 2011, to providing medical relief grants to individuals suffering from this dreaded disease.

About Tata Trusts
Celebrating its 125th anniversary this year, Tata Trusts is amongst India’s oldest, non-sectarian philanthropic organisations that work in several areas of community development. Since its inception, Tata Trusts has played a pioneering role in transforming traditional ideas of philanthropy to make impactful sustainable change in the lives of the communities served. Through direct implementation, co-partnership strategies and grant making, the Trusts support and drive innovation in the areas of education; healthcare and nutrition; rural livelihoods; natural resources management; enhancing civil society and governance and media, arts, crafts and culture. Tata Trusts continue to be guided by the principles of its Founder, Jamsetji Tata and through his vision of proactive philanthropy, the Trusts catalyse societal development while ensuring that initiatives and interventions have a contemporary relevance to the nation. For more information please visit http://tatatrusts.org/

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Rajshree Mehta
Tata Trusts
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Nikita Crasta
Rediffusion / Edelman, Mumbai
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