India’s largest government-run cancer hospital was inaugurated at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences’ (AIIMS) campus in Haryana’s Jhajjar by Prime Minister Narendra Modi via video conference. The 710-bed National Cancer Institute (NCI) is spread over 35 acres of the 300-acre campus. Of the total beds, 250 are operational from the departments of surgery, medical oncology, radiation and palliative care. “Fifty patients are already admitted in the hospital and we have been seeing about 30-40 patients in our OPD every day. The hospital also has one of the largest labs in Asia that can test about 60,000 samples in a day and even give results within two hours,” said Dr GK Rath, head, NCI, which partially opened its OPD services in December. The hospital that is expected to be fully operational by 2020, will be an apex center for not just cancer treatment but also translational research in India-specific cancers, with focus on cancer prevention.
Being developed in a phased manner, NCI made its 250 beds operational in December last year, as first of the three phases planned. The second phase will see more beds added by December 2019, and the last phase will be completed by December 2020. The foundation stone for the Rs 2035 crore project was laid on January 3, 2014. After the NDA government took over, there was a bhoomi pooja held on December 12, 2015, by Union health minister JP Nadda, who labelled it as Independent India’s largest government-funded hospital project. The institute has been modelled after the National Cancer Institute (NCI) of the USA and the government had entered into an MoU with NCI USA in October 2014.
It is developed as the premier Institution for all activities related to cancer in the country and will have the linkages with all cancer centers within the country. To increase the tertiary care facilities in cancer, the government is supporting the establishment of 20 State Cancer Institutes (SCIs) and 50 Tertiary Care Cancer Centers (TCCCs) in different parts of the country, to mentor all cancer-related activities in their respective areas. The National Cancer Center will act as an apex body for the network of the SCIs and TCCCs and shall develop and mentor cancer-related activities. The NCI has also collaborated with the Ayush ministry for research into the role of Indian systems of medicine in cancer prevention and cure. – Hindustan Times