India’s largest cancer institute launched at AIIMS’ Jhajjar campus
The 710-bed NCI hospital opened its OPD services around five years after its foundation stone was laid by the then prime minister Manmohan Singh in 2014. The hospital is expected to be fully operational by December 2020.
Three cancer patients were registered in the out-patient department (OPD) of India’s largest cancer institute, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) at Haryana’s Jhajjar area, after its soft launch on Tuesday.
The 710-bed hospital opened its OPD services around five years after its foundation stone was laid by the then prime minister Manmohan Singh in 2014. The hospital is expected to be fully operational by December 2020.
“A soft launch is important to check whether things are functioning smoothly. Today our doctors conducted a combined OPD and registered three patients. We will start in a phased manner, with the laboratory starting by next week,” said Dr GK Rath, head, NCI.
X-ray facilities at the hospital will start by end of December, CT scans by early January and radio therapy equipment in next three-four months, officials said.
Finalised at a cost of ₹2,035 crore, the project was approved by the cabinet committee on December 26, 2013, and the hospital’s foundation stone was laid on January 3, 2014.
The aim was to strengthen research and also bring down the patient load at All India Institute of Medical Sciences’ (AIIMS) cancer centre.
“We will start admissions by January 14, 2019, and the hospital will be fully functional by December 2020. In the initial few weeks we will have five or six doctors running the 17 OPDs. Of the 2,705 total sanctioned staff strength, the first phase recruitment is for 636 staffers, of which 100 have already been appointed,” said Dr Rath.
The state-of-art cancer centre is a part of the AIIMS-II campus at Jhajjar, for which the Haryana government gave 300 acres of land to AIIMS. The NCI has come up in 35 acres.
After the NDA government took over, a bhoomi pooja was held on December 12, 2015, by newly-appointed health minister JP Nadda, who labelled the project as “independent India’s largest government-funded hospital”.
The institute has been modelled after United States’ National Cancer Institute (NCI). It is developed as the premier institute for all activities related to cancer in the country and will have the linkages with all regional cancer centres.
To increase the tertiary care facilities in cancer, the government is supporting the establishment of 20 State Cancer Institutes (SCIs) and 50 Tertiary Care Cancer Centres (TCCCs) in different parts of the country, to mentor cancer-related activities in their respective areas.
The NCI will act as an apex body for the network of the SCIs and TCCCs and shall develop and mentor Cancer related activities. Apart from treatment, the centre’s main focus will be translational research in India-specific cancers.
“We don’t have enough India-specific research at the moment, especially with new cancer drugs coming almost every other day. We are blindly following the west, so this institute will help strengthen our research,” said Dr PK Julka, former dean, AIIMS, Delhi.