Rotary revamps a chemotherapy ward

An 18-bed chemotherapy ward at the Tamil Nadu Government Multi Super Speciality Hospital (TNGMSSH), Omandurar Estate, was upgraded by RC Madras Central, RID 3232, with a CSR grant of ₹25 lakh from the Hyderabad-based Natco Pharma.

When Project Sakthi, a brainchild of IPDG N Nandakumar, for early detection and treatment of breast and cervical cancer, was under progress, “we wanted to reach out to patients through our permanent projects like Rotary Central Margaret Sidney ­Hospital, bone bank at the Adyar Cancer Institute and Rotary Central-TTK-VHS Blood Bank,” recalls Y Raghava Rao, director, ­special projects, RC Madras Central. During a preliminary study, they found that only a handful of hospitals like the TNGMSSH and Government Royapettah Hospital are providing cancer treatment to patients in Tamil Nadu. “The cancer wards at these hospitals lacked critical equipment and other assets for daycare treatment. We chose the Omandurar hospital, a super speciality centre, as its chemotherapy ward gets 1,000–1,500 patients a month,” he explains.

From R: RC Madras Central special projects director Y Raghava Rao, IPDG N Nandakumar, club president Prakash Vaidyanathan, DGN Vinod Saraogi, Usha Saraogi and TNGMSSH director R Vimala.

After meeting former TN health secretary Senthilkumar and hospital director Dr R Vimala, the five-­member project team led by Rao did a needs assessment which found that there were “large gaps in critical care equipment, staff amenities like nurse stations and food storage, and lack of suitable ambience for patients at the chemo ward.”

Holistic approach

Through a collaborative effort in which healthcare experts, oncologists and patients were consulted, the project team took a holistic view to fill the deficiencies at the daycare ward. “An amount of ₹25 lakh for revamping the daycare ward was needed and Natco agreed to fund it.”

Medical equipment like biosafety cabinets, ­5-parameter ­monitors, infusion pumps, ­ultrasound ­linear probe and mechanised ICU beds were installed after necessary ­permission. “To ensure dignity and privacy to the patients, we recreated the ­interiors and completed the project by July this year,” he added. The ultimate objective is to provide modern ­cancer care to needy patients and ­Project Sakthi has already installed 10 ­mammography units at government, private hospitals and public health centres, says IPDG Nandakumar.

He thanked DGN Vinod Saraogi and project chair Rao for “seeing through this ward upgrade project which will benefit thousands of patients who are being treated free at this hospital.” Breast cancer has taken epidemic proportions of late in ­Chennai and patients are being treated four times in three weeks at the chemo ward, says Dr B Ramkumar, HoD, Medical Oncology, TNGMSSH.

“Chemotherapy is always a high-stress treatment. But with new facilities and medicines, we can reduce the pain and make the therapy acceptable to patients,” says Saraogi. Vasan Gopalasamy, AVP, Chennai plant, Natco Pharma, says, “it is a pleasure to donate through Rotary and reach out to cancer patients.”

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