An initial allocation of Rs 1,500 crore has been made for PM-DevINE for the year 2022-23 and one of the major projects identified for starting during the year is ‘Establishment of dedicated services for the management of pediatric and adult haematolymphoid cancers in North-East India’, to be located at Bhubaneswar Borooah Cancer Institute (BBCI), Guwahati, at an estimated cost of Rs 129 crore.
A new scheme ‘Prime Minister’s Development Initiative for North-East’ (PM-DevINE) was included in the Union Budget 2022-23 to be implemented through the North-Eastern Council, Ministry of Development of the North-Eastern Region, with the objective fund infrastructure in the region.
The initiative is expected to provide a boost to cancer care in the region given that in the last 11 years, 3,855 childhood and adult haematolymphoid cancer patients reported to BBCI for treatment.
The population-based cancer registry of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) reveals that the incidence of cancer in India is highest in the North-Eastern region.
The national average incidence of cancer every year varies from 90-120 per lakh population, whereas in the North-Eastern region it is as high as 220-270 per lakh population.
As per the ICMR report, more than 45,000 new cancer patients are detected in the North-Eastern region each year.
BBCI has a state-of-the-art facility for the treatment of common cancers in the northeast. However, statistics show that treatment facilities are still limited in the region.
As per the ICMR report, 95 per cent of patients from Sikkim, 58 per cent Nagaland, 16 per cent Manipur and 13 per cent from Meghalaya move out of the North-Eastern region for cancer treatment.
However, due to the dearth of adequate facilities other than the BBCI in the North-East, some patients don’t get specialised care close to home and must travel to other centres across the country.
Under the scheme, the dedicated pediatric oncology block will be established which can offer treatment to nearly 1,000 patients annually for this group of ailments, which in return will significantly reduce the patient expenditure.