Former Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chairman G. Madhavan Nair has underlined the importance of prompt action for intervention to address the issues involved in the cancer care sector and to evolve a practical system to ensure cancer care even to rural areas.

Speaking as a chief guest at the inaugural session of the seminar on 'Cost-effective cancer control using mobile tele-medicine' held here on Sunday in connection with the launching of the 'Sanjeevani' mobile tele-medicine unit being implemented by the Kannur-based Malabar Cancer Care Society (MCCS) with the support of the Centre for Development of Advance Computing (C-DAC), ISRO and the IT Ministry of the Central government, Dr. Nair, who is currently president of the International Academy of Astronautics, said that the mobile tele-medicine unit being launched here was using the high-technology of digital connectivity through the satellite to link up various centres for providing services of expert doctors to patients living in rural areas.

Observing that the State had a fine example of how the modern technology could be put to use for health care, Dr. Nair said that the mobile tele-medicine units fitted with all diagnostic equipment could go to remote areas and have the services available to rural areas directly ensuring preliminary examinations and sending data over the satellite to specialist hospitals.

Such initiatives were needed in future, he said and added that there should be efforts to carry out cancer researches that were local-specific. The type of issues found in Western communities might not be the same as what a developing country was facing, he said calling on the cancer research institutes to take steps for finding solutions which could be of relevance to the local people.

Dr. Nair also stressed the importance of creating a data base on the cancer cases and successful medical interventions so that medical practitioners could adopt a safe route. A proper data bank would definitely help future generation adopt a better treatment methods, he observed. He also said that creating awareness among the people on how to go for early detection and intervention was also important.

Earlier, inaugurating the seminar, Health Minister P.K. Sreemathi said that preventive care and early detection of cancer cases should be given as much importance as curative care. Calling for strengthening the IT application in the health care sector, she said that the State government had promptly intervened to provide better cancer care to the patients in the State.

The government’s decision to shoulder all the costs of treatments of cancer patients aged up to 18 years was a step in this direction, she said adding that the government was aware of cancer drugs being sold at higher prices in private hospitals.

Forest and Transport Secretary W.R. Reddy presided over the function.

C-DAC Director General T. Joseph in his presentation called for increased funding for cancer research and reduction of treatment cost.

Calling for optimal utilization of facilities, he said that information and communication technology was a promising tool in the medical sector. The tele-medicine as a developing application helped in sharing scarce medical resources, he said adding that impending installation of 3G and Wi-Max facilities would accelerate the services of the tele-medicine.

C-DAC Director (Administration) George Arackal and Kerala Grama Panchayat Presidents’ Association president K. Narayanan offered felicitation. Former Director of Regional Cancer Centre, Thiruvananthapuram, M. Krishnan Nair spoke on comprehensive management of cancer and the scope of tele-medicine, while B.S. Bedi, Advisor to IT Department, New Delhi, dwelt on standards of interoperability of medical software systems. Oncologists Babu Mathew and P. Usha Rani and C-DAC scientist M.C. Kartha were among those spoke at the seminar.

MCCS president D. Krishnanadha Pai welcomed the gathering.

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