Rotary Club of Gorakhpur Midtown, RID 3120, has upgraded the Hanuman Prasad Poddar Cancer Hospital and Research Institute in the town with a ‘5-channel HDR Brachytherapy cancer treatment unit’. This facility, also called internal radiation therapy, involves placing a higher dose of radiation to kill cancer cells and shrink tumours in a shorter time than the conventional external beam radiation therapy.
Project Coordinator Niten Agrawal recalls how a visit by Shailaja Chaturvedi, a psychiatrist from Sydney, to her home in Lucknow ushered in such advanced facility to the hospital. When Shailaja expressed her desire to her brother Sunil Chaturvedi, the then District Secretary, and member of RC Lucknow Rajdhani, “he connected me to Shailaja because our club was looking for resources to help this hospital.” And a meeting with the hospital’s director Dr H R Mali took the proposal forward. “This is only the beginning. We have plans to upgrade the hospital’s other facilities soon,” says Agrawal.
Dr Shailaja offered $100,000, her brother Sunil contributed $10,000 and the then DG Ranjeet Singh sanctioned $20,000 from the DDF. Club member and Founder of the Niine movement and Niine Sanitary Napkins Amar Tulsiyan contributed $35,000, while $25,000 was collected from other members. With assistance from DRFC Pramod Kumar and TRF Cadre Indumati Gopinath, the global grant project was executed with support from RC Butwal, RID 3292, Nepal, and it has replaced an outdated 3-channel brachytherapy unit in this 36-year-old hospital which gives free cancer treatment for the underprivileged across eastern Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and adjoining Nepal. The new machine costing $275,000 was exported from Swiss manufacturer Varian.
The new facility was inaugurated by Oncologist Somasundaram Subramanian, founder and CEO of the Eurasian Federation of Oncology, Moscow, in the presence of DG Stuti Agarwal, IPDG Ranjeet Singh and DGN K K Srivastava. Addressing the Rotarians, the oncologist promised to get more support to the hospital. Club President Vijay Prakash Agarwal and Secretary Sudhir Agarwal promised to organise cancer awareness and screening camps around Gorakhpur and announced the club’s plans to set up Rotary Rural Community Centres in the region to sensitise people about various diseases and their preventive measures.