Haryana is now home to a state-of-the-art National Cancer Institute (NCI), following an unveiling by the Prime Minister on Tuesday.
The Institute was one of six health-related development projects Prime Minister Modi inaugurated while attending ‘Swachh Shakti 2019’ events in the state. Swachh Shakti commemorates the role of women working in rural areas of the state to help end, open defecation through the Centre’s Swachh Bharat Mission. The Centre plans to end open defecation in the state by October 2nd.
Whilst awarding healthcare workers (HCWs) for their accomplishments during the mission, the Prime Minister took time to launch the NIC through video conferencing. The Institute covers sixty acres at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) campus in the Jhajjar district of the state. Erected at a cost of Rs 2,035 crore (US$287 million), the facility will have capacity to cater to five lakh patients annually and is expected to have 710 beds by December 2020. It will function as a centre for both tertiary care and research.
Among the most impressive features of the newly inaugurated Cancer Institute will be its capacity to administer proton therapy. This is an advanced form of cancer treatment, where cancer cells are treated with radiation through a beam of protons. The advantage of this form of cancer therapy, compared to other such treatments such as chemotherapy, is it treats just the cancer cells without harming the rest of the body.
The NCI in Haryana will be the first government-run facility in India to provide proton therapy. Until now, it has only been available at an Apollo Hospital in Chennai – at a cost of Rs 25 lakh. The NCI in Haryana, on the other hand, will administer the therapy free of charge to enrollees under Ayushman Bharat and at a minimal cost to other patients.
The National Cancer Institute was not the only new unveiling Modi oversaw in Haryana. The Prime Minister also launched a Employers’ State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) Medical College and Hospital – the first of its kind in northern India. He additionally laid a foundation stone for the Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyaya University of Health Sciences in Karnal.
Alternative medicine institutes also played a significant role in the Prime Minister’s agenda in Haryana. Modi laid foundation stones in Panchkula for a National Institute of Ayurveda and in Kurukshetra for the Sri Krishna AYUSH University. The events served to emphasise the Centre’s commitment to advancing traditional medicines as a cornerstone of its health agenda.
The events in Haryana built on announcements in this year’s Union Budget, which touted plans for a number of high-level institutes across the country advancing patient care and medical excellence.