BBCI… A beacon of hope

Dr Bhubaneswar Borooah Cancer Institute (BBCI) one of the oldest cancer institutes in the North Eastern region is going to observe Year-Long Golden Jubilee Celebration

Dr Amal Chandra Kataki


Dr B Borooah Cancer Institute

Dr Bhubaneswar Borooah Cancer Institute (BBCI) one of the oldest cancer institutes in the North Eastern region is going to observe Year-Long Golden Jubilee Celebration commencing from 18th November 2022.

The institute made a humble beginning in 1973 with the inauguration of the institute by the then Governor of Punjab Mahendra Mohan Choudhury and it became operational in 1974 with 20 beds, two doctors, and 34 staff. The institute was established by Lokabandhu Dr. Bhubaneswar Borooah Cancer Society Trust in a three-acre plot of land donated by the Government of Assam.

The first Tele-cobalt machine was commissioned in 1979 and one year after the institute was declared as a Regional Cancer Center by the Ministry of Health & Family, Government of India. In 1986, the institute was taken over by the Government of Assam.

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Three years later, the Government of Assam entered into a Tripartite Agreement with North Eastern Council and Department of Atomic Energy. This became possible at the initiative of the then Chief Minister of Assam Prafulla Kumar Mahanta and Chairman Atomic Energy Commission Mr. M R Srnivasan.

Dr B Borooah cancer Institute over the years has provided accessible, equitable, affordable, and evidence based cancer care to the people of the region. In addition to service to patients, the institute evolved as a teaching and research institute in 2011. Academic courses like MSc in Radiological Physics (in association with Gauhati University), MD in Radiation Oncology, MCh in Surgical Oncology, Head & Neck Surgery, Gynaecological Oncology, DM in Medical Oncology and Onco- Pathology, M.Sc in Cancer Biology, M.Sc in Oncology Nursing, Masters in Health Administration (in association with University of Science and Technology Meghalaya) were started.

In addition to these, 2 years Post Graduate Fellowship Program in seven disciplines of Oncology and paramedical courses in 21 disciplines were introduced to augment limited human resource in the field of oncology in the country and the North Eastern Region in particular. Merck-Foundation Fellowship for doctors and nurses from African countries was introduced by the institute.

The Population Based Cancer Registry (2003) and Hospital Based Cancer Registry (2010) of Indian Council of Medical Research were started to carry out epidemiological research. The Department of Biotechnology’s Centre for Molecular Biology and Cancer Research was started in 2010. Till date, more than 500 original research papers have been published from the institute in reputed scientific journals.

A journal ‘Annals of Oncology Research and Therapy’ was launched in the year 2021, which was first of its kind in the North Eastern Region. The Bone Marrow Transplant (BMT) program was started for the first time in the public sector hospital in the North Eastern Region in 2021. The center is well equipped with all the advanced facilities like skull base surgery, micro-vascular surgery, stereotactic radiotherapy, and radiosurgery, and high dose radioisotope therapy.

The institute has also published two books “Principles and Practice of Oncology”, “Triple C in Cancer”. Two more books “Principles and Practice of Common Cancer '' and “Fundamentals of Gynecologic malignancies” will be published in the month December 2022. These publications have received wider appreciation from medical fraternity across the country.

Almost 80% of patients with cancer at BBCI avail free treatment under Atal Amrit Abhiyan and PM-JAY schemes. The approach to treatment at BBCI is holistic with the integration of meditation, Yoga, and other recreational programs. There is 3 scheme to provide free lunch to all OPD patients and their attendants. There are also provisions for subsidized accommodation and anti-cancer drugs giving succor to patients by reducing out of pocket expenditure. The Cabinet Committee on Security chaired by the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi on 7th June 2017, it was decided to take over Dr B Borooah Cancer Institute by Department of Atomic Energy, Government of India as its Grant-in-Aid Institute under the administrative control of Tata Memorial Centre, Mumbai.

In the same meeting, 166 permanent posts were also created. On 27th November 2017, the Institute was formally taken over by DAE-TMC, which will be part of history written in golden colours. BBCI successfully implemented Atal Amrit Abhiyan and PMJAY Scheme for which Hon’ble Chief Minister of Assam Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma presented Award of Appreciation to BBCI during 75th Independence Day Celebration. The Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India established a Regional Satellite Tobacco Quitline Services at BBCI for North East, Odisha and West Bengal, which was one of the four centres in the country.

BBCI bagged WHO South East Asia Regional Directors Special Award for Tobacco Control in 2021. The Institute also received Healthcare Excellence Award in medical education which was presented by the then Hon’ble Health Minister of Assam Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma. The Department of Atomic Energy sanctioned Rs.131 crore for upgradation of the existing old building and construction of a new 8-storied new OPD building, which will be completed within the next 3-4 years. DAE also sanctioned Rs.191.62 crore for replacement of old and procurement of new medical equipment and machineries, the process of which is ongoing.

A project on Adult and Paediatric Haematolymphoid Cancer at a cost of Rs.129.00 crore was announced by Smt. Nirmala Shitharaman, Hon’ble Finance Minister of India in her budget speech on 2nd February 2022 under the provision of Prime Ministers’- Development Initiative of North East (PM-DevINE) scheme.

The project will be implemented within the next three years. The Department of Atomic Energy, Government of India has accorded in principle approval of about Rs.171 crore for additional high-end equipment and recurring expenditure for human resource for the PM-DevINE scheme. The vision of BBCI is to make it a hub for state of the art cancer treatment for people of the South East Asian countries in the future to come. In the Golden Jubilee Year we all take a pledge to inculcate the ideals of ‘Lokabandhu’ Dr Bhubaneswar Borooah to provide compassionate and empathic care to the people of this part of the country.

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