US Co plans radiotherapy facilities in government hospitals


Mumbai: Varian Medical Systems, the US-based provider of radiation oncology treatments and medical software said it has reached out to several Indian states with a high burden of cancer to set up radiotherapy centres at district government hospitals under the public-private partnership (PPP) model.

“In this model, the state is expected to provide space in their hospitals, where a private clinical service provider will set up the radiotherapy centre to treat patients at a cost agreed with the state,” Ashok Kakkar, senior managing director-India at Varian told ET.

Kakkar said Varian has also reached out to the Central government to develop a policy document for developing radiotherapy centres based on the PPP model. “This model will help address the issues of the geographical skew in terms of access and availability of facilities.”

He said out of the 718 districts in India, radiotherapy facilities are available in less than 100. This results in only 18 to 20% of patients being able to access radiotherapy treatments.

India has only 0.45 linear accelerators or radiotherapy systems per million in comparison to a world average of 1.84. Besides, Kakkar said there is also a severe shortage of radiation oncologists, who are needed for this specialised cancer care. “This lack of radiotherapy systems and manpower gets compounded due to inadequate infrastructure, causing patients to travel long distances to access treatment, which eventually forces most of them to drop out,” he added.

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