SILCHAR, Aug 26 - In a bid to be better equipped with ways to treat patients, besides medical attention, around 280 support staff of the Cachar Cancer Hospital, Silchar, are undergoing training on communication and soft skill development at the hospital.
This initiative, a part of the National Cancer Grid, has been launched to enlighten support staff � including nurses, ward attendants, receptionists, lab assistants and even canteen crew � on how to deal with patients who come for treatment, mostly in critical conditions, said Dr Ravi Kannan, noted oncologist and director of the hospital.
Viji Venkatesh, regional head, India and South Asia from Max Foundation, a partner of the Grid, is interacting with the hospital staff during the sessions. Talking to The Assam Tribune on the sidelines of a session on addressing cancer victims by their names and not as patients per se, Venkatesh admitted �cancer is still a stigma in this country. Hence, as part of the crusade, we must help the people who deal with cancer victims with the best ways to interact with them and emphathise them. The support staff here work diligently and the sessions on communication skills, coping strategies, fighting superstitions, knowing the stages of grief and above all, understanding the disease, shall help them reach out to the patients who come from far off places with hopes to get cured. We must convince the victims that cancer is just a disease which can be healed�.
Meanwhile, elaborating on the initiative, Dr Kannan said that as a part of the Grid, they were also addressing the need for community-based centres where people can reach out and speak their minds on the disease. Four districts � Cachar, Hailakandi, Dima Hasao and Dharmanagar/Unokoti in Tripura � have been selected for the pilot run of the community-level patient support group.
�We had tried this in Kolasib district of Mizoram and the response was phenomenal, when we saw people were ready to accept the system of cancer care aimed at the community level and administered by people from the community themselves,� Dr Kannan said.