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Community based Cancer Care in Assam: A Joint Initiative of Tata Trusts and Government of Assam

Published onJun 13, 2023
Community based Cancer Care in Assam: A Joint Initiative of Tata Trusts and Government of Assam

Cancer is one of the leading causes of deaths in India, with 2.5 million people are living with cancer and 1 million new cases are added every year. The highest cancer incidences and mortalities are observed in northeastern states of India including Assam.  The overall delivery of affordable and equitable cancer care has been one of Assam's greatest challenges due to lack of well distributed cancer facilities, causing late-stage diagnosis and increased mortality. Hence, there is a pressing need to develop cost-effective cancer care programs for prevention and early detection of cancer, in addition to the treatment and management of cases.  To address the above-mentioned issues, Govt. of Assam and Tata Trusts set up, Assam Cancer Care Foundation (ACCF) to create a first-of-its-kind grid to bring high-quality cancer care closer home for patients supplemented with awareness and prevention programs, and a unified technology platform to deliver high-quality care. To complement the hospital operations, ACCF, in close collaboration with the National Health Mission has operationalized the prevention, awareness and early detection programs in eight districts of Assam over the last two year. A mobile team of dentists, nurses, health camp managers and data entry operators are working for cancer screening and community awareness.  ACCF also built a robust referral and follow-up pathways to ensure unique model of continuum of care for cancer patients. ACCF program leverages existing govt programs to strengthen cancer early detection and its prevention of Oral, Breast, Cervical cancers in the age group of 30-65 years. ACCF coordinates with the State NCD cell to disseminate awareness messages on tobacco and oral cancers to the educational institutions, Health Centres of the target districts. From November 2019 to June 2022, 1,03,077 people screened for oral, breast and cervical cancers and 52, 22 and 10 cases confirmed as oral, breast and cervical cancers respectively. These patients are different stages of treatment and under close follow up. About 1,30,633 people sensitized in the same period for cancer prevention.  This model is unique and with government initiative complimented by Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) funding, can be replicable in any geography of interest.

Venkata Pradeep Babu Koyyala:

Great initiative by Tata trusts and Govt of Assam