With more than one million cases of cancer being diagnosed every year in India, the government should set up low-cost treatment cell for those who fall below poverty line, said NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant at the third Onco Summit India here on Friday.
The NITI Aayog is working towards developing model concession agreements so that both government and private bodies can set up cancer care units at district hospitals, he added.
“Cancer is a huge area of concern for us. More than one million cases of cancer are diagnosed every year in India. Indian government should build up low-cost treatment cell for those who fall below poverty line,” Kant said at the inaugural day of the two-day summit.
The summit is being organised by US-based Varian Medical Systems – manufacturer of medical devices and software for treating cancer — at JW Marriott Hotel New Delhi Aerocity.
“The challenge is to provide cancer treatment at the right price. Cost can be brought down by ensuring that the patient is treated in the right way,” Deepak Khuntia, Vice-President, Medical Affairs, Varian Medical Systems, told IANS.
“In India we have a fear of cancer. Huge amount of emphasis needs to be laid on research to find out what is ideally suited for the Indian body,” Kant maintained.
“And if that can be found out through research, probably the expenditure on cancer treatment can be brought down to a great extent,” he said.
A strong health insurance scheme can also enable people belonging to middle and lower-income groups to go for treatment, Kant pointed out.
Efforts are being made to strengthen infrastructure and services using the combined strength of public and private sector, he noted.
He lamented the lack of maintenance effort by the government.
Talking about multinational companies making more investments in India, Kant said there is a great scope in the healthcare sector.
“There has been rise in investments, bringing in both technology and expertise, not in just urban areas but the presence is gradually being felt in rural areas as well,” Kant stated.
He also emphasised on the importance of listing down the risk factors for cancer and bringing changes in lifestyle as the first step to prevent the deadly disease.