GUWAHATI, May 16 - Dr B Borooah Cancer Institute (BBCI), Guwahati, has expressed concern over the psychological harassment of cancer patients who came to the hospital for treatment and check-up from neighbours and people of their respective localities.
The BBCI authorities have also termed the �excessive fear about COVID-19� among the public unfounded.
The hospital has opened its services for patients already undergoing treatment on May 11 and footfalls of 250-300 patients have been recorded on average since then.
According to Dr Amal Chandra Kataki, BBCI director, the stigmatisation of cancer patients followed by psychological harassment is unscientific and unethical, and those committing it should refrain from doing so.
�Cancer patients are emotionally fragile due to the nature of their illness, and to subject them to any further psychological harassment will lower their strength to fight the disease, which is far more dangerous than COVID-19. One must understand that people afflicted with COVID-19 are now recovering without treatment in most of the cases. So, the excessive fear about COVID-19 among the public is unfounded,� he said.
Pointing out that the World Health Organization (WHO) noted that people around the world will have to learn to live with the virus, Dr Kataki said, adding that many staff from BBCI are also facing such harassment, and despite this, they have been continuing to serve cancer patients.
In a report came out in April, WHO has noted that in 11 countries, there were 35 reports of serious attacks on healthcare workers, mostly due to people�s excessive reaction, rumours, and vested interest.
�This COVID-19 pandemic has shown the best amongst us, but also exposed the worst in us. The management of BBCI would request the authorities concerned to take up this matter and do the needful,� Dr Kataki added.
Dr Manigreeva Krishnatreya, medical officer at BBCI, said the cancer patient or the patient�s attendants are not primary or secondary contacts of the deceased COVID-19 patient detected at BBCI staff quarters.
�Furthermore, samples of 82 primary contacts of COVID-19 patient have tested negative. Also, some cancer patients undergoing treatment at BBCI are reluctant to be go back to their villages in fear of social isolation,� added Dr Krishnatreya.