Corporate hospitals would have to face the test of providing equitable healthcare: N. Ram

The nation is in need of a comprehensive plan to prevent cancer, and specialists in the field of oncology and non-governmental organisations should work towards stepping up awareness among the people of risk factors, Tamil Nadu Governor K. Rosaiah said here on Monday.

Inaugurating the Comprehensive Cancer Center at the Kovai Medical Center and Hospital (KMCH), he said: “We need to put in joint efforts to create awareness of cancers and sensitise people to prevention. Cost-effective intervention and preventing smoking and consumption of alcohol is the need of the hour.”

What necessitated such measures was the fact that India ranked high in the deaths caused by non-communicable diseases such as cancer and cardio-vascular problems.

Cancer was a leading cause of death across the world, accounting for 7.6 million deaths every year. As much as 30 per cent of these were caused by dietary habits, use of tobacco and alcohol. And, it was alarming to note that 70 per cent of cancer deaths occurred in low and middle-income families. The prediction that the cases might rise to 11 million by 2030 called for concerted efforts for prevention, the Governor said.

Presiding, Chairman of the Sakthi Group N. Mahalingam said emphasis must be laid on promoting Indian systems of medicine such as Siddha and Ayurveda. Mr. Mahalingam said he would provide space in the educational institutions run by his group to establish departments for such courses in the systems if Tamil Nadu Dr. MGR Medical University promoted these.

Editor-in-Chief of The Hindu N. Ram said corporate hospitals would have to face the test of providing equitable healthcare as there was a staggering burden of chronic diseases on the nation. These diseases — such as cardiovascular problems, diabetes, cancer, mental illness and metabolic disorders — cast a long shadow on the economic development of the country. The Central and State governments introduced schemes for diseases prevention, but implementation was poor. The spending on healthcare should be increased from the current one per cent of the Gross Domestic Product. A state-of-the-art cancer centre was a big investment. It involved investment in modern equipment, medical specialists and nursing and paramedical staff for comprehensive care. There should not be any compromise in the form of backward characteristics. But the test lay in equitable health care. Stating that the KMCH's growth into a large multi-speciality hospital and its goal of maximising patient satisfaction were commendable, Mr. Ram said Coimbatore had grown into an eminent medical centre, serving people from its region and from abroad.

Dr. MGR Medical University Vice-Chancellor Mayil Vahanan Natarajan appreciated the KMCH for being involved in all the core areas of medical science — clinical services, teaching and training and research.

Chairman of the hospital Nalla G. Palanisamy narrated how it began as a 150-bed hospital and had now grown into a 700-bed tertiary centre, with 200 of the beds for cancer patients alone.

Chairman of the PGP Group Palani G. Periasamy, Secretary of the GRG Institutions Nandini Rangaswamy, Chairman of the Poppy's Group A. Sakthivel, Vice-Chairman of the KMCH Thavamani D. Palaniswami, Director of the cancer centre V. Kannan and chief of interventional radiology and imaging Mathew Cherian participated.