Calcutta, Aug. 23: Bengal will have its first regional cancer institute at Rajarhat to cater to patients in eastern India, Union health minister Anbumani Ramadoss said today.
“They (the state government) have provided five acres of land for the purpose. Once the institute is set up, we will have the Chittaranjan National Cancer Institute (CNCI) shifted to Rajarhat,” he added.
The Centre had earlier planned to extend the CNCI by setting up a new establishment at an estimated cost of Rs 6 crore near M.R. Bangur Hospital in Tollygunge. But fresh plans were drawn up after the state government, because of the high incidence of various types of cancer in Bengal, favoured a bigger establishment and provided the land for it.
“The new centre will do plenty of research work and will also cater to a huge population in the eastern region,” Ramadoss said. Work on the new institute, to be set up at an estimated cost of Rs 55 crore, will begin soon.
In Bengal alone, 65,000 new cancer cases are reported every year, with one-third of them reaching a critical stage without any treatment.
The state government has been mulling more centres in Calcutta, where cancer is still a bigger menace than AIDS or any other disease.
“To have some sort of control over this menace, the government is keen on upgrading its facilities,” chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee said, shortly after installing a Rs 1.5 crore-high dose brachytherapy machine today to give radiation therapy to patients at the Medical College and Hospital.
Apart from setting up a regional cancer institute, the Union government was also looking at ways to change the pattern of medical education in Bengal and the rest of the country, Ramadoss said.
“Medical education is all about doctors’ orientation and medical ethics, which needs improvement now,” said Ramadoss, himself a doctor. He said the Union government was also looking at the possibility of effecting a “little change in the syllabus of MBBS courses” with a focus on ethics.
The Union government will hold discussions with the Medical Council of India and state government representatives on this score in the next few months, it was learnt.
Speaking on the issue of upgrading the Medical College and Hospital to the standard of the All India Institute for Medical Sciences, Ramadoss said the new government was reviewing the previous regime’s policy of upgrading six hospitals across the country, including the MCH.