“The state government has been taking pro-active measures towards improving cancer care in the state including infrastructure upgradation of district hospitals, both in terms of trained doctors and staff to provide free chemotherapy in all the 30 districts of the state. The Tata Trusts has immense expertise in the field of cancer care and research. The comprehensive cancer care programme in partnership with Tata Trusts will certainly create the much-needed synergy”, the chief minister said.
Speaking at the MoU signing, Ratan Tata said, “The state has changed enormously in last few years. Cancer is a major thrust area and the Tatas will share their knowledge in cancer care to support the state’s efforts in high-end cancer treatment.”
The comprehensive care programme, according to the MoU, will be established through a three-tier network of facilities with the Tata Trusts’ proposed Centre at Bhubaneswar and Acharya Harihar Regional Cancer Centre in Cuttack as apex centres.
The medical colleges in the state and the district hospitals will be equipped to offer diagnostics and standardised day care chemotherapy with selected district hospitals additionally offering Radiotherapy services.
This will create a state-wide cancer care network with an objective to take treatment closest to patients.
The priorities of Odisha’s cancer care programme will be delineated by an advisory committee chaired by the chief secretary. According to the MoU, the advisory committee will recommend a Special Programme Management Entity for executing the proposed network of cancer facilities. The project management entity will have representation from both the state government and Tata Trusts.
A corpus of Rs 8 billion has been earmarked for implementing cancer care projects under the above initiative over the next five years. The Odisha government’s share is pegged at Rs 5 billion while Tata Trusts has pledged Rs 3 billion.
The state government will also fund the operational expenses of the different facilities installed under the programme and fully sponsor free treatment for the poor and needy patients.
Earlier, the state government has wrested the initiative in offering free cancer care across Odisha. Manpower and infrastructure at the district headquarter hospitals are being upgraded to provide free chemotherapy in all the 30 districts. Free cancer service includes facilities for screening and early detection of malignant tumours.