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New Delhi : The Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu on October 3, 2021, called upon the private sector to come forward and partner with the State governments to provide modern cancer treatment facilities in the rural areas. Naidu, who embarked on an eight-day tour of the North-Eastern States, arrived at Guwahati, Assam,  on October 3 morning. He was received by Assam Governor, Chief Minister, and other dignitaries.

Inaugurating a PET-MRI wing at the State Cancer Institute, Naidu said that it would not only greatly help in more accurate diagnosis, but will also reduce patients’ exposure to radiation. It is only the 4th such machine in India, which is based on Time-of-Flight technology. Referring to the step-down cancer care model called the Distributed Cancer Care Model, which the Assam government proposes to implement in partnership with Tata Trusts, Naidu advised other States to emulate it for providing timely and effective treatment to cancer patients, according to a PIB release.

Under the Distributed Cancer Care Model, it is planned to have one Apex Referral Centre called L1, Comprehensive Cancer Hospitals attached to Government Medical Colleges called L2s and Diagnostic and Day Care Centres with Radiation adjacent to District hospitals called L3s.

Referring to the aim to create patient-centric cancer institutions to deliver standardised and affordable care closer to the patients’ homes, instead of a single apex hospital handling a cancer patient’s treatment, Naidu noted that they would provide high-quality cancer care closer to home and reduce out-of-pocket expenses for cancer patients.

The Vice President said palliative care was a crucial area that required greater attention of the governments and health professionals. “Palliative care is basically supportive care and seeks to improve the quality of life of patients,” he added.

Naidu also urged all the state governments to include lessons on the importance of adopting healthy lifestyles in the school curricula to make children aware of the need to prevent non-communicable diseases. He called for a national campaign to bring awareness among people about ‘lifestyle diseases’.

He said the Covid-19 pandemic has taught important lessons and the foremost among them was to maintain good health and develop immunity. Stressing the importance of leading a disciplined lifestyle, Naidu said undertaking regular physical activity, avoiding unhealthy diet and substances that are harmful to one’s health, play a critical role in the overall well-being of a person. “In fact, they are important in preventing the growing incidence of various non-communicable diseases, including cance,r” the Vice President emphasized.

The Vice President lauded the Assam government and the state’s medical fraternity for the services rendered during Covid. He also called for making healthcare more accessible and affordable to the common man. In this regard, he reiterated the Prime Minister’s statement that there is a need to have at least one medical college in each district of the country.

Later, the Vice President interacted with a group of 20 eminent personalities from Assam who made significant contributions in the field of science, literature, education, sports, music and arts. Praising the achievers for their hard work, perseverance, focus and dedication, the Vice President described them as true Karmayogis who exemplified excellence in their respective fields. “You have become a role model for others and your life inspires the youth to achieve the best,” he told them.

Stating that India has no dearth of talent, Naidu asked the achievers to guide and mentor the deserving and aspiring youngsters in the true spirit of Guru-Shishya Parampara. Referring to the cultural performance ‘Bihu Adoroni’, he witnessed earlier at the Heritage Centre at Brahmaputra, Naidu said he was mesmerised by the beautiful culture and tradition of Assam.

Assam Governor Prof. Jagdish Mukhi, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, Minister of Health & Family Welfare, Govt. of Assam,  Keshab Mahanta, Chief Secretary of Assam Jishnu Barua, and others were present during the event.