COVID-19 is presenting unique challenges for cancer centres. The pandemic has disrupted the entire spectrum of cancer care, delaying diagnosis and treatment. A report of National Health Authority has revealed that under PM-JAY scheme, despite hospitals being exempted from lockdown, oncological volumes massively declined by 64% during this period. Initially, Balco Medical Centre (BMC) anticipated that the fear of the pandemic coupled will lockdown will make it difficult for patients to visit healthcare facilities. This is because there’s one question on every patient’s mind: Is there a risk of contracting COVID-19 infection during the hospital visit? Only if this vital question is satisfactorily addressed, patients will return to hospitals.
Most cancer patients are immunocompromised by the nature of the disease itself and due to the treatment they receive, therefore, safety from any infection, including coronavirus, is crucial. Recognising that postponement of cancer treatment will increase cancer morbidity and mortality, possibly more than COVID 19 itself, BMC has left no stone unturned to keep its premises safe for everybody and never for once closed its doors to patients.
Even before the onset of Coronavirus outbreak, Balco Medical Centre had strong and stringent infection control systems and processes. Additional protocols and protective measures such as thermal screening of all visitors, strict adherence to social distancing, good hand-hygiene practices, usage of personal protective equipment and triage of patients based on their symptoms were introduced at the very start of the pandemic.
Additionally, at Balco Medical Centre before treatment commencement, every patient is tested at the same facility for COVID 19 to rule out its presence. Incidentally, BMC is the first private organisation in the state of Chhattisgarh to obtain all required statutory approvals to conduct COVID 19 tests. In this process, BMC has also become the first hospital of CG to get the coveted NABL accreditation for Molecular testing using RT PCR. All these safety measures have boosted public confidence and helped BMC serve more patients than before the pandemic outbreak.
Balco Medical Centre, a not-for-profit flagship healthcare initiative of the Vedanta Group, is a state-of-the-art 170 bed therapeutic cancer care hospital in Raipur. Working on the fundamentals of Triple C – Compassion, Care and Cure, BMC provides affordable, world-class treatment and is fast emerging as a national leader in the oncology space. The hospital has treated over 5,500 cancer patients since its inauguration in March 2018.
Till date, Vedanta has contributed nearly Rs. 500 Cr towards the set up and operations of the facility. BMC is looking to further expand by partnering with government and other like-minded social & developmental organisations to realise its vision of cancer-free society by working in the space of education, early screening & diagnosis, academics and research.
Setting a precedent for a healthier India
Over the next 10 years, it is estimated that Balco Medical Centre will touch more than 5 lakh lives (~4 lakh OP patients, ~36,000 IP admissions, ~10,500 RT Patients and ~39,000 chemo patients). At maturity, this first phase will provide employment opportunities to more than 5000 people, through direct and indirect means.
Such an endeavour makes India hopeful that more corporates will join hands in bringing global medical facilities to the country’s doorstep and make India a global leader in healthcare. It will assist the government in sharing the massive public healthcare load that currently faces the country, especially in times of the pandemic. A good healthcare sector is also essential to enable India to groom an effective and reliable workforce – a primary requisite for a thriving economy.
Disclaimer: The views, suggestions and opinions expressed here are the sole responsibility of the experts. No Forbes India journalist was involved in the writing and production of this article.