The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi dedicated to the nation six cancer hospitals in Assam at a function in Dibrugarh today. These cancer Hospitals are built at Dibrugarh, Kokrajhar, Barpeta, Darrang, Tezpur, Lakhimpur, and Jorhat. Dibrugarh Hospital was dedicated to nation by the Prime Minister earlier in the day when he visited the premises of the new hospital. The Prime Minister also laid the foundation stone of seven new cancer hospitals at Dhubri, Nalbari, Goalpara, Nagaon, Sivasagar, Tinsukia and Golaghat to be constructed under phase 2 of the project. Governor of Assam Shri Jagdish Mukhi, Chief Minister of Assam Shri Himanta Biswa Sarma, Union Minister Shri Sarbananda Sonowal, Shri Rameswar Teli, Former CJI and Rajya Sabha member, Shri Ranjan Gogoi and noted industrialist Shri Ratan Tata were among those present on the occasion.
Speaking on the occasion, the Prime Minister started by acknowledging the festive spirit of the season and paid homage to the great sons and daughters of Assam. The Prime Minister said that Cancer hospitals in Assam that were dedicated to nation today and the ones for which foundation stone was laid today, will augment healthcare capacities in Northeast as well as South Asia. Acknowledging that cancer has been a big problem not only in Assam but also in the North East, the Prime Minister said “our poorest, middle class families are the most affected by this”. For the treatment of cancer, till a few years ago, the patients here had to go to big cities which led to financial burden on poor and middle-class families. The Prime Minister complimented the Assam Chief Minister Shri Sarma and Union Minister Shri Sonowal and Tata Trust for taking many steps to address this long pending problem in Assam. Prime Minister Modi said that this year’s Budget’s has envisaged a 1500 crore rupees scheme Prime Minister’s Development Initiative for North-East (PM-DeVINE). Under the scheme too, cancer treatment is a focus area and a facility is proposed for Guwahati also.
Elaborating on the government’s vision for the healthcare sector, the Prime Minister talked about ‘Swasthya ke Saptrishisi’. The effort of the government is that disease itself does not arise. “That’s why our government has given a lot of emphasis on Preventive Healthcare. The yoga, fitness related programs are going on for this reason”, he said. Second, if the disease occurs, it should be known in the early stages. For this, lakhs of new testing centers are being built across the country. The third focus is that people should have better first aid facilities near their homes. For this primary health centers are being improved. The fourth effort is that the poor should get free treatment in the best hospital. For this, under schemes like Ayushman Bharat, free treatment up to Rs 5 lakh is being given by the Government of India. Our fifth focus is to minimize the dependence on big cities for good treatment. For this, our government is making unprecedented investments on health infrastructure. The Prime Minister explained that “before 2014, there were only 7 AIIMS in the country. Out of these, except one in Delhi, there was no MBBS course or OPD, some of them were incomplete even. We rectified all these and declared 16 new AIIMS in the country. AIIMS Guwahati is also one of them.” On the sixth point of the vision the Prime Minister said “our government is addressing the shortfall in the number of doctors. In the last seven years, more than 70 thousand new seats have been added for MBBS and PG. Our government is also treating more than 5 lakh Ayush doctors at par with allopathic doctors.” The seventh focus of the government is digitization of health services. The effort of the government is to get rid of long lines for treatment, to get rid of the problems in the name of treatment. For this many schemes have been implemented, Shri Modi added. Prime Minister Modi emphasized “the effort is that the citizens of the whole country can get the benefits of the schemes of the central government, anywhere in the country, there should be no restriction for that. This is the spirit of One Nation, One Health. This spirit gave strength to the country even in the biggest epidemic of 100 years, gave strength to deal with the challenge.”
The Prime Minister said that exorbitant cost of cancer treatment was a big barrier in the mind of people. Women particularly, avoided treatment as it had the potential of pushing family into debt and penury. Government is making cancer drugs affordable by reducing the cost of many medicines to almost half, saving at least 1000 crore rupees of the patients. More than 900 medicines are now available at affordable rates in Jan Aushadhi Kendras. Under Ayushman Bharat Schemes many beneficiaries are cancer patients.
The Prime Minister said Ayushman Bharat and Wellness centers are ensuring early detection of cancer cases. More than 15 crore people have undergone cancer screening in Wellness centres in Assam and other parts of the country. The Prime Minister appreciated the Assam Government for improving medical infrastructure in the state. The Chief Minister and his team is working to admirably to implement national pledge of a medical college in every district, Prime Minister Modi said. He reiterated central government’s commitment to ensure all facilities from oxygen to ventilators in Assam. Shri Modi asked everyone to get vaccinated as the government has expanded the ambit of vaccination by approving vaccination of children and precaution doses for adults.
The Central and Assam Government are working sincerely to give a better life to lakhs of families working in tea gardens. From free ration to the facilities available under the Har Ghar Jal Yojana, the Assam government is reaching the families in tea gardens rapidly, the Prime Minister informed.
The Prime Minister dwelled on the changed notion of people’s welfare. Today, scope of public welfare has been expanded. Earlier, only some subsidies were seen to be linked to public welfare. Projects of infrastructure, connectivity were not seen to be linked with welfare. Whereas, in the absence of connectivity, delivery of public services was very difficult. Now the country is moving ahead leaving behind the concepts of last century. In Assam, road, rail and air network expansion is visible, creating new opportunities for poor, youth, women, children, deprived and tribal communities. We are pushing the development of Assam and the country with the spirit of Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas and Sabka Prayas, the Prime Minister concluded.
Assam Cancer Care Foundation, a joint venture of Government of Assam and Tata Trusts, is executing a project to build South Asia’s largest affordable cancer care network with 17 Cancer care hospitals spread across the state. Under the Phase 1 of the project, out of 10 hospitals, the construction of seven hospitals have been completed while three hospitals are at various level of construction. Phase 2 of the project will witness construction of seven new cancer hospitals.