GUWAHATI, July 18 - The Dr B Barooah Cancer institute (BBCI), one of the oldest such institute in the Northeast region, has witnessed upgradation since it was taken over by the Department of Atomic Energy of the Government of India and it is now the fourth institute in the country to receive permission from the Medical Council of India (MCI) to run super-specialty courses in five disciplines of cancer.
Talking to The Assam Tribune, BBCI Director Dr AC Kakati said that the institute was taken over by the Department of Atomic Energy as a unit of the Tata Memorial Centre, Mumbai, on November 27, 2017 and since then the institute has seen much improvement. Moreover, due to the support from the Department of Atomic Energy, the Medical Council of India (MCI) recently accorded permission to start super-speciality courses in three more disciplines of oncology. With this, the BBCI has achieved a milestone of becoming one of the four MCI-recognized centres in India to conduct super-speciality courses in five disciplines of cancer in a single centre.
Giving details of other improvements seen by the institute since it was taken over by the Department of Atomic Energy, Dr Kataki said that in view of the large number of cancer patients reporting from various northeastern States and high cost of treatment, the institute, on top priority basis, started a pharmacy where highly expensive anti-cancer medicines were provided at approximately one sixth of the market price, and this has benefited a large number of patients. To overcome the shortage of manpower, which is an important component for quality care and services, more staff have been appointed. In the clinical section, new departments of plastic surgery, microbiology, transfusion medicine, haemato-pathology, clinical haematology, and prosthodontics were added. The introduction of a dedicated Information Technology Department has streamlined the flow of patients from new registration to treatment that include cashless transaction and avoidance of long queues for payment at various counters.
The nuclear medicine department was upgraded with low dose and high dose radio-isotope treatment, which is a first of its kind in public sector hospitals in the entire eastern India. A state-of-the-art linear accelerator machine with Volumetric Arc Therapy (VMAT) facility has been started in January 2019. This high tech and very expensive treatment facility is provided at a highly subsidized rate. A new guest house for patients and a hostel for post-graduate students were started after takeover of the institute. Additionally, 104 regular posts, including 66 nurses, have been advertised to overcome the shortage of nurses and other technical staff to serve cancer patients. The National Cancer Grid, through funding from Department of Atomic Energy, has supported clinical trials to promote research and improved patient care in this part of the country. To streamline administrative works, posts of three Deputy Directors have been created, Dr Kakati added.
On the steps taken by the institute to provide treatment to cancer patients during the time of COVID-19 pandemic, Dr Kataki said that balancing the risk of COVID-19 infection to cancer patients and safety of health care personnel while providing treatment to patients was a challenging job. He said, 65 doctors of the institute were pressed into action for providing tele-consultation to over 5,000 cancer patients. This small gesture of empathy helped to foster doctor-patient relationship and improve patient�s satisfaction at this hour of humanitarian crisis, he added.