Ahmed Ali, from Murshidabad, has been suffering from cancer of the oesophagus for the past six months. He visited the oncology department of NRS Medical College and Hospital last month and was prescribed a radiotherapy and chemotherapy course.
But Ali had to leave for his village after a single radiotherapy session.
Reason: He could not pay the room rent in Calcutta.
Bharat Sevashram Sangha and Oncolink, a voluntary organisation, have come forward to the aid of patients like Ali. From later this month, they will provide rooms at a nominal rate to patients undergoing radiotherapy.
“Six rooms in an apartment block, donated to us by a person, will be used to provide shelter to poor patients and their relatives,” said Swami Biswatmananda, chief coordinator of the Sangha.
A patient will have to pay Rs 20 and his relatives Rs 10 each to stay in the rooms on Sultan Alam Road, near the Rabindra Sarobar Metro Railway station.
“Presently, 20 patients and 20 relatives can be accommodated. We plan to increase the capacity,” the Swami added.
“Radiotherapy takes about a month. Most hospitals have a severe crisis of beds, forcing patients to avail of the service in the outpatients’ department. But, unfortunately, they cannot continue the treatment as they cannot afford to stay in a rented accommodation in the city,” said Subir Ganguly, head of the oncology department at NRS and president of Oncolink.
He said the organisation is trying to arrange for buses to drop patients at hospitals every day and bring them back after radiotherapy.
The service will be opened on December 27 by health minister Surjya Kanta Mishra.
nHospital unveil: The first phase of the Sangha’s 500-bed hospital in Joka is likely to be operational by December 2007.