Dear APLI Members
Most of you will be aware that fellow members have been visiting Cachar Cancer Hospital and Research Centre (CCHRC), Assam, for several years. The hospital is run by a NGO doing great work in an area of desperate need. The hospital provides cancer care to about 4000 new and 10,000 follow-up patients each year, and the numbers are rising. Patients come from the Barak Valley area surrounding the hospital, but also from much further afield, including neighbouring states. Home care is difficult due to the poor condition of the roads. The patients are almost all very poor, many working for a pittance in the local tea plantations. People with cancers present late here, due to a potent combination of low health literacy and the well justified fear of financial ruin. This makes cure rare, and comfort care the first priority. The hospital responded to this by employing a palliative care physician – Dr Iqbal – and strongly supporting him and many nurses in travelling to obtain palliative care skills. This was the reason the hospital was suggested to us by Pallium India as a place to visit and support.
CCHRC has a full range of specialists, and patients are treated with surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. The hospital now has a dedicated area for intensive care, and a capable pathologist. Since the first of three visits four years ago and with the support of international and local donors, the hospital has continued to build, and now has two more storeys, with extended ward beds to 100, an intensive care unit and a staff and visitor living area. It has clinics in two distant locations for the patients who can’t travel.
Much of the energy for all this has come from the Medical Director, Dr Ravi Kannan. He gave up a prosperous practice in Chennai many years ago to work at Cachar, and has inspired all the other staff to work towards the aim of improving the lot of the local people. Recently severe storms have damaged the hospital and cost much money in diesel fuel as the city was without power for weeks. You can see more of this and some photographs on their Facebook Page (Cachar Cancer Hospital and Research Centre).
So I’m writing to ask that you consider making a donation to APLI, which is now a tax-exempt organisation, meaning you can tax-deduct any gift, to help recovery from the damage. I’ve never been surer that the money will be put to the best use, as our previous donations have always been applied so faithfully.
With hope, and sincerely