MUMBAI, India - May 9, 2021: A FedEx 777 cargo plane landed in Mumbai this morning with 81,000 kgs of medical equipment for Tata Memorial Centre (TMC) and its associated hospitals for distribution across India. The chartered flight carried in 3,400 portable oxygen concentrators along with 300,000 N95 masks. A few hours later, an Air India passenger plane landed in Delhi with an additional 400 concentrators. These are the third and fourth shipments that Tata Memorial Centre (TMC) has brought in over the past two weeks.
TMC, besides providing life-saving services, is also sourcing and allocating medical equipment for over 200 hospitals across India that are part of the National Cancer Grid (NCG). Dr. Rajendra Badwe, Director of TMC, says, “We have the singular focus of getting these units to the hospitals throughout India so that many can breathe well.
This expedient and organized response to the pandemic is fitting with TMC’s role as an 80-year-old institution focused on delivering quality care to all, including the most vulnerable and underserved in the country.
TMC is a tertiary cancer center under the Department of Atomic Energy, Government of India. It sees up to 100,000 new cancer cases each year. Two thirds of its patients are treated at a highly subsidized rate or completely free of charge.
Consolidating efforts at TMC along with Dr. Badwe are Dr. CS Pramesh, Director of Tata Memorial Hospital, and Dr. Pankaj Chaturvedi, the Deputy Director of Epidemiology. Dr. Pramesh, also the Coordinator of the National Cancer Grid, says, “We are collecting requests for equipment and consumables from hospitals across the NCG, and mapping the current incidence of Covid-19 infections to determine where the greatest needs are and prioritizing government and charitable organizations to finalize the allocation [of oxygen concentrators].”
Throughout the pandemic, TMC has been responsible for protecting cancer patients who are far more susceptible to an adverse event from Covid-19 than others. Adding to the risks that Covid-19 presents, the risk of untreated cancer looms large as it can be more fatal than the virus. All seven TMC centres across India—Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, Sangrur, Varanasi, Guwahati, Vishakhapatnam and Muzaffarpur—have continued cancer care throughout the pandemic. Together, they have managed to treat over 80,000 patients with cancer in spite of a raging pandemic. In addition, over 2,000 patients with cancer and COVID-19 have been treated for COVID in the various TMC centres.
Since the first wave of the pandemic, TMC has been a leader in India’s Covid-19 response. In June 2020, TMC partnered with the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and the Maharashtra government and helped set up an ad-hoc, 518 bed and 10 ICU bed Covid-19 facility at the NSCI Dome in Mumbai. As soon as the second wave hit, TMC’s team of experts drew on this experience to identify lightweight, portable, high-flow oxygen concentrators that would have the maximum impact in saving lives, especially in hospitals that don’t have oxygen pipelines.,. Dr. Chaturvedi , who was looking after the NSCI centre, explains that the second wave of the pandemic seems to be related to a new variant that is affecting the lungs of young people, leading to a sharp rise in death among that population. One of the important factors leading to mortality is the lack of ICU beds, lifesaving drugs, and oxygen. Portable oxygen concentrators help decongest ICUs and oxygen beds for truly needy patients by offering home support for patients with mild illness, allowing recovering patients to continue care at home, and supporting patients that are waiting hours or days for a hospital bed.
When asked how TMC has been able to respond so effectively to the recent shortage in oxygen supply, Dr. Badwe states, “ Besides local industry stepping up production of medical grade oxygen , philanthropists like Tata Trusts and other NGO’s in India helping procure large oxygenators, we have had an overwhelming response globally, with Indian diaspora and medical community joining hands to support,
Air India, our national carrier, has been superlative in their services and has been instrumental in the speedy delivery of the consignment without any added cost of transit ”
Speaking of the support rendered, Dr. Badwe says, “It is indeed a very valuable service to the nation. I am much heartened by the way Indians abroad responded to the carrion call and extended hands in support.”
Deshpande attributes the success of this initiative to TMC, saying, “I’m impressed with how so many moving parts came together quickly. Donors trust the TMC name for its medical and ethical leadership. We know that TMC will reach and distribute these units to even the most remote areas. TMC's ability to manage the logistics, clear the customs and dispatch the units played a key role in starting to save lives right away."
Dr Badwe concludes, “ We are facing difficult times, but with our preparedness and global support we should be able to overcome it. Hopefully with access to vaccination across the globe we should be able to offer protection to the entire humanity against the deadly virus.”
For more information, visit: https://o2.tmc.navya.care/
Who are the beneficiaries of the National Cancer Grid?
Maharashtra: B.K.L. Walawalkar Hospital, Diagnostic And Research Centre, Ratnagiri ; Samarth Cancer, laparoscopy and maternity Hospital. Dhule; Sahyadri Hospitals ltd, Pune
Mumbai and Navi Mumbai: Tata Memorial Hospital, ACTREC, KEM Hospital, BARC Hospital, Sion Hospital, Sir J.J. Group of Hospitals, CIDCO Covid facility, Sub District Hospital Panvel, Panvel, Covid Hospital, Kalamboli , Pramod Mahajan Covid hospital , Mira Bhayander Municipal Corporation , INHS Asvini, Kailash Kher Foundation, Giving Back
Punjab: Government of Punjab, Administration of Chandigarh, Christian Medical College Ludhiana, HBCH, Sangrur
Uttar Pradesh: HBCH & MPMMCC Varanasi; District Hospital Varanasi, SPHEEHA, Agra; Kamla Nehru Hospital Allahabad
Bihar: Government of Bihar, Patna; Savera Hospital, Patna; HBCHRC Muzaffrpur
New Delhi: Can Support, Odisha Positive,
Madhya Pradesh: Cancer Hospital and Research Institute, Gwalior; Padhar Hospital; Shri Aurobindo Institute of Medical Science Indore, Vidya Cancer Hospital
Assam: Govt of Assam, BBCI Guwahati, Cachar Cancer Centre, Silchar
Mizoram: State Cancer Institute, Aizawl
West Bengal: Saroj Gupta Cancer Centre, Kolkata
Andhra Pradesh – Vishakhapatnam Municipal Commission, HBCHRC, Vizag
Karnataka: Sir Devaraj Urs Medical College ; Mazumdar Shaw Cancer Center; Narayana Cancer Centre: R B Patil Hospital, Hubli; Kidwai Memorial Institute of Oncology, Bengaluru; AarogyaSeva, Bangalore; Taluk Health Office and Hospital (Hanur and Ramapura) ; Victoria Hospital ; Vydehi Institute of Medical Sciences (VIMS), Yenepoya Medical College
Gujarat: The Gujarat Cancer & Research Institute, Ahmedabad; Kothari Onco Surgical Hospital; HCG Cancer Center Ahmedabad
Rajasthan: S.M.S. Hospital, Jaipur; Shalby Hospitals Jaipur ; Sri Ram Cancer Center, Mahatma Gandhi Medical College Hospital, Jaipur
Kerala: Malabar Cancer Center; St. Gregorios Medical Mission Multi specialty Hospital; Believers Church Medical College Hospital
Tamil Nadu: CMC Vellore ; GKNM Hospital
--Source: PIB Mumbai