Cancer Care In The Garden City
The Kidwai Memorial Institute of Oncology, Bengaluru, hopes to reach out to patients all over India with its plans for better, comprehensive cancer careBy DHRUVAN NAIR
If you are in Bengaluru, being stuck in traffic jams is inevitable and if stuck near Dairy Circle, one can see the numerous people from all walks of life that walk through the archway into a large hospital compound. Founded on June 26, 1973, the Kidwai Memorial Institute of Oncology (KMIO) is named after Indian Independence activist and socialist, Rafi Ahmed Kidwai, who was instrumental in setting it up. He donated 20 acres and ₹1 lakh for a radiotherapy machine. Later, the government of Karnataka converted the institute into an autonomous institution, and on January 23, 1980, Dr. M Krishna Bhargava took charge as the first director of the institute. Since then, the institute has seen many changes with both newer technologies and treatments being introduced as well as the addition of newer blocks. Today, it is one of the most trusted centres for cancer care in the city for numerous Bengalureans.
KMIO is a recognized exclusive tertiary cancer care centre and an academic and research institute that delivers modern healthcare. It has facilities for advanced medical investigation and treatment. It is also a member of the Union for International Cancer Control and is recognized by the World Health Organization. KMIO has, with its autonomous status, evolved into a tertiary cancer institute that provides modern multidisciplinary total patient care, conducts medical/ clinical research, promotes cancer education programs both at the institute and in the community and initiates planned epidemiological studies in this part of the country.
At present, the institute has a Department of Cancer Detection and Screening Unit which does both hospital-based as well as field-based cancer detection activities. It has been conducting cancer detection camps for the last 25 years. During these camps, apart from screening, cancer health education is also performed in the form of short documentary films, didactic lectures, interactive sessions, posters, etc. to create awareness on preventing cancer and the importance of early diagnosis. The institute is also looking into expanding its reach in various aspects of its services and hence, has laid out a number of specific targets for the future.
One area of focus is a direct approach to the individuals by continuing with what has been going on and by increasing the number of staff and mobile cancer detection units. Another planned project is setting up a cancer detection unit at every medical college as a part of the institute’s outreach program in the state of Karnataka by involving the social and preventive medicine departments of every medical college and designating a particular geographic area for each medical college so that the whole state of Karnataka can be covered. KMIO also plans to coordinate with the National Cancer Control Program as well as the District Cancer Control Program units so that more effective measures can be taken in this regard, and to avoid unnecessary duplication of work.
KMIO has also given its recommendations to the Central government, the state and the World Health Organization for the development of oncology wings at all medical colleges all over the country; its suggestion is to start by conducting a workshop sponsored by WHO and Ministry of Health, Government of India. The cancer detection unit presently available at the institute will also be expanded to a full-blown department consisting of both medical and paramedical personnel. There are also plans to have more mobile cancer units; the numbers are to be increased from one unit at present to three units at the end of five years, and ultimately, to at least five units at the end of 10 years.
KMIO was recognized as a charitable institute by the Endowment Department of Karnataka, thanks to its commitment to services to poor cancer patients. The charges levied for cancer investigations and treatment are well within the reach of the poor. In cases where the total treatment cost is too high, patients are financially assisted by various schemes like free drugs from the institute, Karnataka Chief Minister’s Medical Relief Fund, Poor Patients Welfare Fund, Children Welfare Fund, and Kidwai Cancer Drug Foundation. The anti-cancer drugs sold at Kidwai Cancer Drug Foundation are 40-60 per cent cheaper than market rates.
KMIO was in the news for initiating a new programme last October, wherein it went paperless. Patinets can now head directly to the doctor, who will have access to the patient’s medical history and other records online.
The institute was recently in the news for initiating a new program wherein it went paperless from October 2019. The prolonged exercise for patients to go from one department to the other to collect their various files and reports is now a thing of the past; they can now head directly to the doctor, who will have access to the patient’s medical history and other records online. “On entering, the e-hospital portal will register the patient in the hospital system at the OPD (out-patient department). A patient’s identiﬁcation number will be generated, after which the patient will be given a health card. At the electronic queue management centre, they will be issued a token, which will tell them where to go and which doctor to see,” explained Dr. C Ramachandra, the institute director.
“I was at Victoria hospital first for my father-in-law, who seemed to be showing some symptoms and after the biopsy report came, they asked me to go to Kidwai for further treatment. I asked some of the people where I work and they said that Kidwai has been there for a long time and it is a good choice for treatment. The hospital has been a part of Bengaluru for a long time. Now I am here just admitting him,” said Salmaan, who works as a key marker in the city.
“My wife is suffering from breast cancer. As an auto driver, I don’t know much about the details of this disease. But at the hospital (Kidwai), they have been of so much help. I learnt about this cancer there and it is important to know about it. I hope of course that she fights this well but I am happy that I myself know about this so that I can talk to my friends about this, and make them aware of its symptoms,” said Mubarak. An oncology institute with many such advanced facilitates,
KMIO remains a trusted friend for the working class in the bustling city that is Bengaluru. Its role is not just like that of a hospital due to the social welfare programs that it has implemented for the city, which include free medical checkups and creating general awareness about the various kinds of cancer amongst the general public.
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