World Health Organization (WHO) on the recommendation of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare Government of India has selected Dr B Borooah Cancer Institute (BBCI) for its South-East Asia Regional Practice Network for childhood cancer services, which is termed as implementing CURE ALL approach.
The WHO global initiative on childhood cancer was launched in September 2018 in a bid to increase the survival rate among children in the age group of 0-19 years with cancer to at least 60% by 2030. Children with cancers in low and middle income countries are four times more likely to die of cancer than children in high income countries. Capacity for childhood cancer response is also weak in most countries in the South East Asian Region (SEAR).
BBCI is one of the four Indian medical institutions selected for the service alongside Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai, Kidwai Memorial Institute of Oncology, Bengaluru, and Lady Hardinge Medical College at New Delhi.
Professor of Pediatric Oncology Dr. Munlima Hazarika stated, “In addition to policy neglect, the reasons for low survival include poor capacity of health systems to diagnose, abandonment of treatment, due to high costs, lack of facilities, and skills of specialized training of health care providers”.
Meanwhile, Director of BBCI, Dr. Amal Chandra Kataki, informed, “More than 400 childhood cancer patients are treated at the hospital every year. The establishment of St. Jude India Child Care Centre at BBCI in 2019 provides free treatment of childhood cancer patients under the Aparjeeya scheme of Assam Gas Company Limited, Atal Amrit Abhiyan and PMJAY scheme that have benefited large number of childhood cancer patients and their families”.
Other initiatives of the cancer institute include in association with Jiv Daya Foundation of USA, BBCI has dedicated staff for pediatric nutrition, infection control, and medical social counselors, a Clinical Hematologist has been appointed under the Department of Medical and Pediatric Oncology as many childhood cancer patients suffer from leukemia and for the first time a two-year post-graduate fellowship in Pediatric Oncology has been started from the academic session 2020, further stated Dr. Kataki. Numaligarh Refinery even donated rupees two crores for the upgradation of the infrastructure of the institute.