Mumbai doctors give push to Varanasi hospital project

The Mahamana Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya Cancer Centre in Varanasi is a unit of Tata Memorial Centre.  

Built in 10 months, the 352-bed Mahamana Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya Cancer Centre in Varanasi has made it to the India Book of Records for being the largest cancer hospital built in the least amount of time. While the hospital will take a large amount of patient load off Mumbai’s Tata Memorial Hospital (TMH), it is the TMH doctors who have played a crucial role in setting up the Varanasi hospital.

Dedicated staff

Spread across 5.86 lakh sq. ft, the hospital was built in record time, from April 4, 2018, to February 7, 2019, and was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi soon after. “The Tata Trusts carried out the civil work while the doctors from TMH played a role in the instrumentation, designing and training the medical staff,” said Dr. Rajendra Badwe, director of Tata Memorial Centre (TMC). He said that the Varanasi hospital now has a dedicated medical staff of 15 surgeons, six radiation oncologists, and five medical oncologists. “While the staff is now equipped to handle all routine cases, doctors from TMH will visit the hospital for four days every fortnight for intervention in complex cases,” said Dr. Badwe.

The hospital, he said, will cater to people from eastern and central Uttar Pradesh, northern Bihar and parts of Chhattisgarh. “We had also started a cancer registry in Varanasi and Muzaffarnagar to understand the magnitude of the problem there,” said Dr. Badwe.

Last year, a 180-bed Homi Bhabha Cancer Hospital was opened in Varanasi in place of a dilapidated railway cancer hospital. The Mahamana Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya Cancer Centre has come up in the campus of Banaras Hindu University (BHU), which is about seven km away from the Homi Bhabha Cancer Hospital. “Normally, a project like this would take over three years to complete. What the Tata Trusts has managed to achieve is great,” said Dr. Pankaj Chaturvedi, head and neck cancer surgeon from TMH. The Homi Bhabha Cancer Hospital will focus on blood, bone and paediatric cancers and the Mahamana Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya Cancer Centre will be a dedicated facility for solid tumours in adults. “The TMC had entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the BHU after which the land was transferred to the Department of Atomic Energy to make way for the hospital,” explained Dr. Chaturvedi.

Nearly one million new cancer cases are diagnosed in India annually. Mumbai’s TMH handles the highest load of patients, with over 65,000 new registrations every year. According to Dr. Chaturvedi, the incidence of cancer is 100 per lakh people in urban areas and 80 per lakh in rural India.

“With the lifestyle choices that we are making, the incidence is going to rise exponentially. Thus, the best way to offer cancer care would be decentralising it,” said Dr. Chaturvedi. Two-thirds of cancer patients coming to TMH are from out of the city, and this leads to huge out-of-pocket expenditure in terms of travel and stay. He said, “By 2021, the TMC will be running at least six hospitals across the country with over 3,500 beds.”

‘Project buddies’

As per a conventional plan, the Mahamana Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya Cancer Centre was to be ready by 2021. How did the team manage to construct the hospital in merely 10 months then? A member of the Tata Trusts said cross-functional teams with diverse portfolios were set up to collaborate and execute the plan. The team members were called ‘project buddies’.

“Meticulous planning of logistics, material and manpower was done. A dedicated team of engineers and workers were on the job round the clock. We ensured that they were highly motivated and self-driven,” he said.

Resources were integrated and milestones were mapped judiciously. The construction work also involved using the dry composite method instead of the conventional brick-and-mortar technology.

The dry composite technology meant that the walls and wood work were pre-fabricated and brought to the site.

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Printable version | May 8, 2021 2:43:09 PM |

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