News Desk: In yet another significant milestone, World Health Organization (WHO) on the recommendation of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare Government of India has selected Dr B Borooah Cancer Institute (BBCI) for its South-East Asia Regional Practice Network for childhood cancer services, which is termed as implementing CURE ALL approach. The three other Indian medical institutions are Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai, Kidwai Memorial Institute of Oncology, Bengaluru, and Lady Hardinge Medical College in New Delhi. Three centers from Indonesia, one each from Thailand, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Myanmar are part of this network hospital in South East Asia.
The WHO global initiative on childhood cancer was launched in September 2018. The aim is to increase the survival rate among children in the age group of 0-19 years with cancer to at least 60% by 2030. Children with cancers in low and middle-income countries are four times more likely to die of cancer than children in high-income countries. Capacity for childhood cancer response is also weak in most countries in the Southeast Asian Region (SEAR).
Dr Munlima Hazarika, Professor of Pediatric Oncology has stated that in addition to policy neglect, the reasons for low survival include poor capacity of health systems to diagnose, abandonment of treatment, due to high costs, lack of facilities, and skills of specialized training of health care providers.
Dr Amal Chandra Kataki, Director of BBCI informed that more than 400 childhood cancer patients are treated at the hospital every year. Establishment of St Jude India Child Care Centre at BBCI in 2019, free treatment of childhood cancer patients under Aparjeeya scheme of Assam Gas Company Limited/ Atal Amrit Abhiyan/PMJAY scheme has benefited a large number of childhood cancer patients and their families.
In association with Jiv Daya Foundation of USA, BBCI has dedicated staff for pediatric nutrition, infection control, and medical social counselors. Numaligarh Refinery under its Corporate Social Responsibility Scheme has donated INR 2 Crore for up-gradation of infrastructure facilities at the Pediatric Oncology Division of the institute.
As many childhood cancer patients suffer from leukemia, a Clinical Hematologist has been appointed under the Department of Medical and Pediatric Oncology. For the first time a two-year post-graduate fellowship in Pediatric Oncology has been started from the academic session 2020, further stated Dr Kataki.
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