Ratan Tata’s Tata Trusts, will give Rs 1,000 crore and other assistance to the Modi government for expansion of cancer treatment centres, which has the potential to immensely improve the chances of survival, for thousands of poor cancer patients. 5 states, namely: Rajasthan, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh will be getting either completely new hospitals or old ones shall be upgraded with Mumbai’s Tata Memorial Hospital in Parel, as a model. Ratan Tata has asked all the companies of Tata group, to pool in as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives.
Tata Memorial hospital, is known as one of India’s best cancer treatment facility. It is also known to give facilities at very low costs and in even free, to more than 60% of its patients. However, due to such low costs, there is a long waiting list of patients. Many of them have a poor financial condition, due to which they cannot bear the expenses of lodging in a costly city like Mumbai for long. Hence, lots of them have to go back without completing their treatment. Though the hospital has 700 beds, but 67,000 new cancer patients from all over the country get treated here every year. The hospital also caters to 4.5 lakh patients who are following up on their treatment. Cancer patients from even African and Middle Eastern countries, come here in hope of getting cured. This problem can be solved once the new hospitals come up.
The promised assistance of Rs 1,000-crore from Tata Trusts will be utilized for building the required infrastructure and buying latest medical paraphernalia. The Tata Memorial Hospital will train the doctors and paramedics for these hospitals. In fact, Tata Trusts is now a signatory to an agreement with the Sarbananda Sonowal government of Assam, for improving Guwahati’s cancer institute by adding modern tertiary care amenities like chemotherapy, radiation and surgical oncology. Under the 3 phased 540 crore plan partly financed by Assam government and Tata Trusts, hospitals in other districts of Assam will also be upgraded. Assam’s health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma met Ratan Tata in Mumbai. He praised him saying, “I am extremely delighted to have met the legendary Ratan Tata and members of the Tata Trusts for what may become a rare philanthropy government collaboration on cancer care and management.”
Apart from Assam, Rajasthan’s capital Jaipur will be getting an entirely new cancer hospital, which will be built with a sum of 200 crore rupees, out of which Vasundhara Raje’s government will be funding the major part. Jharkhand’s Raghubar Das government also has given Tata Trusts 23.5 acres of land for building a new cancer care facility. In Uttar Pradesh’s Varanasi, which is the constituency of PM Modi, there will be modernisation of the Indian Railways cancer institute and research centre, as it has been acquired by the Tata Memorial Hospital. The Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD) Temple Trust, which manages the famous Tirupati Balaji Temple, has given 25 acres of land for a new cancer hospital in Andhra Pradesh’s temple town of Tirumala.
Last year, experts and senior doctors of the Tata Memorial Hospital had a meeting with Modi government’s officers and had told them that more than 33% of the patients in the hospital, were coming from northern states of the country. They asked if hospitals devoted to cancer care, can be started in these states, to ease the pressure and rush at the Mumbai hospital, as well as help the patients to get faster treatment at a very low cost. We at The Youth, salute Ratan Tata for his efforts in this regard, and hope that other corporate honchos come forward, to help India’s public healthcare system, which is reeling under the pressure of a huge population.