The Government of Telangana and Tata Trusts today announced a Memorandum of Understanding to deliver high-quality affordable cancer care through a three-tier model and develop academic and research capabilities in the state.
The MoU was signed by Ms. A Santhi Kumari, Principal Secretary, Health, Medical & Family Welfare Department, Government of Telangana, and Mr. R. Venkataramanan, Managing Trustee, Tata Trusts, in the presence of the Minister for Information Technology, Telangana, Mr. K. T. Rama Rao, Minister for Health, Medical Education and Family Welfare, Dr. C. Laxma Reddy, and the Chairman of Tata Trusts, Mr. Ratan N. Tata.
As part of the three-tier model, two apex super-specialty hospitals in Hyderabad – the MNJ Institute of Technology and the Nizam Institute of Medical Sciences – will be upgraded to handle complex cases on a referral basis. Medical colleges in Adilabad, Nizamabad, Mahbubnagar, and Warangal will be strengthened so that they can offer diagnosis and treatment of cancer cases. District hospitals in Karimnagar, Khammam, and Nalgonda will be developed to offer diagnostic and standardized day care chemotherapy. Thereby, a state-wide cancer care network will get created to take treatment closest to patients, through beefing up the existing public health system and infrastructure.
The network will ensure that no patient will have to travel more than a few hours for accessing the full suite of cancer treatment services. The model is centered on the use of technology and task shifting to facilitate operations in remote areas, and patient-centric design principles to provide a good in-hospital experience to the patient and caregiver. The hospitals will also mount an extensive awareness, screening, and early detection programme.
The entire public health system will be galvanized to be able to play a part in the cancer care continuum. The proposed infrastructure will, therefore, be a platform to utilize cancer-related schemes of the Union and the State Government, such as National Oral Health, Tobacco Control, Palliative Care and Health Insurance programmes.
Tata Trusts has convened a diverse group of top oncologists globally, leading cancer hospitals attached to the National Cancer Grid, engineers and contractors to be able to deliver on the infrastructure needed to deliver cancer diagnosis and treatment.
Mr. Ratan N. Tata, Chairman, Tata Trusts, said, “We are privileged to partner with the Government of Telangana in upgrading cancer care capabilities in the public health network. Patients will no longer need to travel all the way to Hyderabad except for rare and complex conditions.”
The initiative in Telangana is the latest of Tata Trusts’ effort to partner with state governments and other entities to decentralize cancer care in India. Similar initiatives are in different stages of implementation in Assam, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh.