“Biach&Ri Provides Quality Treatment At Affordable Cost” —Nandamuri Balakrishna
Nandamuri Balakrishna is a leading cine artist of south Indian cinema. Son of legendary the late Nandamuri Taraka Rama Rao, former Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, Balakrishna is popularly known as Balayya and NBK by his huge number of fans and admirers. An actor from childhood, Balakrishna is associated with several philanthropic and social organisation activities. As chairman of BIACH&RI, his mission is to fulfill his parents’ vision to create a world-class cancer facility providing affordable cancer care to all cancer patients. In an exclusive interview to Uday India, he explains his plans. Excerpts:
How do you envision the Indian onco scenario?
Onco scenario in India is quite grim and the present number of cancer patients in the country is estimated to be around 2.5 million and about 7.50 lakh cases are reported every year.
Tell us about the genesis of Basavatarakam Indo-American Cancer Hospital and Research Institute (BIACH&RI).
BIACH & RI is a culmination of dream of legendary NT Rama Rao to have a full-fledged cancer hospital in Andhra Pradesh providing quality treatment at affordable cost to the people as his wife Nandamuri Basavatarakam was herself an unfortunate victim of cancer. Many like-minded people from various walks of life and philanthropists in India and USA took his call, joined hands and formed Nandamuri Basavataraka Ramarao Memorial Cancer Foundation in India and Indo American Cancer Organization in USA to promote BIACH&RI. Though the foundation stone was laid in the year 1989, the Institute could start functioning only in June 2000 with 100 beds and has gradually developed into a major cancer treatment centre in the country with over 500 beds.
What technological advancements have been introduced lately?
The Institute has been continuously introducing the latest technological developments in the treatment of cancer and it was the first cancer hospital to install a Linear Accelerator in India for radiation treatment. Presently it has six linear accelerators, the largest number in India and four of these including the Novatis Rapid Arc with V Mat supported by Brain Lab are IMRT capable. The Institute also has Real Time Position Management (RPM) and Acute Breath Co-ordination (ABC) facilities for SBRT. It is the only facility in India to have Lantis, ARIA and Mosaiq networks with three independent servers and common RT network for radiation planning. Besides, it is the first centre in India to introduce Cone beam CT based IGRT, breath control system for IGRT and All in One (AIO) immobilisation system for conformal radiotherapy.
Does Basavatarakam Indo- American Cancer Hospital and Research Institute play a role in mentoring the next generation in cancer care?
The Institute has very active mentoring and training programme for future Surgical, Medical and Radiation oncologists as well as Pathologists and has been accredited by the National Board of Examinations (NBE) to conduct their DNB programme for Surgical, Medical (Post MS/MD) and Radiation Oncologists as well as Pathologists (Post MBBS). It encourages its doctors to actively participate in in-house as well as external academic programmes, CMEs and workshops/seminars. The Institute also regularly organises national and international programmes on latest advances in cancer treatment and related issues. Being one of the largest laparoscopic surgery centers in India, it provides opportunities to young surgeons to be trained in laparoscopic surgery through observer programmes.
In Indian perspective, how do you envision cancer detection and management in near future?
Though the cancer detection and management in India over the years has improved, the large segment of population is still untouched due to non-availability of facilities, particularly in North and Eastern India. With the Government of India taking initiative to improve regional cancer centres and cancer treatment facilities in government sector, the situation is likely to improve.
Basavatarakam Indo-American Cancer Hospital and Research Institute is reckoned one of the best cancer hospitals in India. How about the influx of patients from neighbouring countries?
The number of international patients coming to the hospital is increasing. Hospital is receiving patients mainly from Africa and the Middle East and there are patients from SAARC nations also.
Is Basavatarakam Indo-American Cancer Hospital and Research Institute working in collaboration with other organisations, particularly in molecular tumour profiling?
BIACH&RI is working in collaboration with Tata Memorial Hospital in the fields of cancer treatment, education and research.
What are your future plans? Where do you see Basavatarakam Indo-American Cancer Hospital and Research Institute five years from now?
With the optimisation of capacity in the Hyderabad facility, the future plans are to open satellite hospitals in other parts of Andhra Pradesh, particularly due to division of the state into Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.