Centre will set up 20 new state cancer institutes: Azad

New Delhi: The Centre will set up 20 new state cancer institutes across the country along with 23 new tertiary cancer centres to address the increased requirement of cancer-related treatments in the country, Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said today.

"...The central government last week has approved funds for establishment of these institutes and also the existing 27 regional cancer care centres will be strengthened," Azad said.

This initiative will add 70 state-of-the-art tertiary cancer centres in government sectors, the Minister said while addressing the 41st convocation of AIIMS here.

A National Cancer Institute with state-of-the-art research and patient care facilities would be established at Jhajjar in Haryana, where the government has acquired 300 acres of land for teaching and research requirements of AIIMS, he said.

Azad said the government has upgraded 19 institutions and it intends to take up another 29 government medical colleges for upgradation in the 12th plan period.

He said work on the seventh AIIMS at Rae Bareli would start soon with the land being acquired and the tendering process at an advanced stage.

The process of setting up an AIIMS in Raiganj in West Bengal is under way, he said.

The Minister, however, said these ambitious projects and their effective implementation require availability of large number of trained and skilled human resources. 

He said the government has allocated additional financial resources for modernisation of existing facilities at AIIMS here, which is under severe strain due to increased patient load.

"Due to the implicit faith of the people in the patient care services at this institute, nearly 10,000 patients visit the AIIMS OPD every day from all parts of the country," he said.

The Minister conferred degrees on 509 newly graduated doctors. The programme was also attended by Margaret Chan, Director General of the World Health Organisation.

Chan gave away medals for meritorious academic excellence to 29 students. She said the new doctors symbolise India's aspirations and advised the students to serve the poor and vulnerable sections of society.

She advised them to serve with humanity, quoting Mahatma Gandhi that 'Service without humanity' is a deadly sin.