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Panel recommends upgrade of BBCI as cancer hub of NE

 NEW DELHI, Nov 13 - Expressing serious concern over the rising number of cancer patients in northeastern states, a parliamentary panel has recommended that Dr B Barooah Cancer Institute (BBCI) in Guwahati should be upgraded as a common hub for the region.

The department-related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Science and Technology, Environment, Forest and Climate Change put forward this view in its report on ‘An expanded role for the Department of Atomic Energy in cancer treatment in India through an enlarged network of the Tata Memorial Centre’.

Underlining that the criteria for hubs and spokes cannot be determined based on population alone, the committee found that underserved regions could also be sparsely populated and geographically far off from densely populated centres. Therefore, special attention should be paid to ease the hardship of cancer patients in remote areas, the committee felt.

Particularly, Dr B Barooah Cancer Institute in Guwahati should be upgraded and developed as a common hub for the northeastern states with immediate focus on infrastructure development and training of human resources at all levels, until similar hubs and spokes are set up in all the states of the Northeast, the panel opined. In addition, focused research must be carried out on the higher incidence of cancer in the entire region, it said.

It was brought to the notice of the committee by representatives of the Tata Memorial Centre (TMC) that the Government of Assam has rolled out a plan to establish a multi-tier network of 17 hospitals in collaboration with the Tata Trusts with the State Cancer Institute (SCI) at the apex, similar to the hub-and-spoke model of TMC.

The panel further urged the Central and State governments to extend necessary help for enlarging the network of quality cancer treatment centres.

The committee headed by Rajya Sabha member Jairam Ramesh has submitted its report to the Chairman of the Upper House M Venkaiah Naidu on Tuesday.

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