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Cancer treatment goes digital in Assam

* Ratan Tata inaugurates DiNC at GMCH

GUWAHATI, June 17: Cancer treatment in Assam on Sunday went digital with the inauguration of the Digital Information Nerve Centre (DiNC) at State Cancer Hospital here.

The DiNC was inaugurated by the Chairman of Tata Trusts, Ratan Tata, at State Cancer Hospital on the Gauhati Medical College & Hospital premises on Sunday afternoon. The DiNC has been set up by Tata Trusts with the help Tata Consultancy Services.

As per the Indian Council for Medical Research, 31,825 new cancer cases are reported in the State every year and that 70 per cent of these patients face mortality due to lack of treatment or late diagnosis.
Speaking to reporters after the inauguration of the DiNC, State Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said that the digital centre will create a new paradigm in cancer care delivery by empowering patients to easily access quality care services with technology intervention.

“DiNC will facilitate patients to connect with doctors and literally put cancer care access in the hands of common people by leveraging digital technology,” Sarma said.

Sarma said with the inauguration of DiNC at the State Cancer Hospital, doctors of the hospital will now have an easy access with oncologists and specialists of 143 leading cancer hospitals of the country to know the best available line of treatment for patients. He said doctors at State Cancer Hospital will be able to interact with cancer specialists across the country at regular interval to know the line of treatment and investigation for their patients from tomorrow.

“The DiNC will provide all kinds of records of treatment and investigations of patients at the click of a mouse during interaction between doctors of State Cancer Hospital and their counterparts with other parts of the country. Easy availability of records will minimize wastage of time of doctors and ensure fast special treatment for patients,” Sarma said hoping that such development will reduce outflow of cancer patients from the State for special treatment.

Sarma said that in the first phase two premier cancer hospitals — theTata Memorial Centre, Mumbai and Tata Medical Centre, Kolkata, will be linked with the DiNC at State Cancer Hospital. In a phased manner the State Cancer Hospital will be linked with all cancer hospitals (nearly 143 hospitals) under the National Cancer Grid through the DiNC. He said the DiNC will take Assam to a very high level of cancer care for patients.

The Health Minister said the DiNC will also help seamless movement of patients of 19 proposed cancer centres to be set up in Assam. “Cancer care will no longer be isolated treatment in the State. The country’s renowned specialists will intervene in all critical cases,” Sarma said.
The Assam Government has joined hands with the Tata Trusts to form the Assam Cancer Care Foundation to develop a comprehensive cancer care programme. Initially, a corpus of Rs 1,910 crore will be created, of which Rs 830 crore will be provided by the Tata Trusts and Rs 1,080 crore by the State Government. The programme will be launched on Monday with the laying of foundation stones of 19 cancer treatment centres across the State.