GUWAHATI, March 21 - The cancer patients and their attendants, who are in Mumbai for treatment, are facing serious hardship due to coronavirus outbreak as the treatment is delayed, while the Assam Bhawan authorities there are also forced to look for alternative accommodation to deal with the situation. Under the circumstances, the Assam Bhawan authorities have requested the people of the State not to go to Mumbai without consulting them.
Joint Resident Commissioner of Assam Bhawan, Mumbai, Devasish Sharma told The Assam Tribune that as Maharashtra is the worst affected state in the country, there is apprehension among the people and hospitals there are not in a position to admit new patients, which has complicated the situation.
Most of the cancer patients from Assam go to Tata Memorial Hospital in Mumbai for treatment, but due to the coronavirus outbreak, the hospital is not admitting new patients. �As the patients come to Mumbai from different parts of India, travelling by trains, air, etc., the authorities of Tata Memorial Hospital are not too keen on admitting new patients fearing outbreak of coronavirus and only the serious patients are admitted or treated,� he said.
Sharma pointed out that as all the patients, who went to Mumbai for treatment, are not being allowed into the Tata Memorial Hospital, it has resulted panic among them. �Moreover, their scheduled radiation and chemotherapy sessions were also postponed, and most people do not have the money to stay back in Mumbai for a long time,� he added.
Sharma revealed that as per records available, around 160 patients and their relatives are staying in the Assam Bhawan, while around 200 others are staying in the Arogya Bhawan of the Deepsikha Foundation. �But the accommodation is not enough as the patients are being forced to stay back in Mumbai and to deal with the situation, efforts are being made to look for alternative arrangements in other places,� he said.
The Deepsikha Foundation has set up a help desk in front of the Tata Memorial Hospital to help out the patients who were not admitted in the hospital. Sharma said those who can afford are being sent to private hospitals, while some have been advised to return to Assam and get treated in B Borooah Cancer Institute in Guwahati.
The officials of the Assam Bhawan are also in constant touch with the Maharashtra government. Sharma said the public transport system in Maharashtra is functioning till date, but even if it is shut down, the buses available with Deepsikha Foundation would be adequate to transport patients from Assam Bhawan to the hospitals.