Magsaysay award winner Dr Ravi Kannan says award is for all who contributed to cancer care

Silchar: Renowned oncologist and Assam’s first Magsaysay award winner Dr Ravi Kannan on Thursday said the prestigious award is not about him, but for all those who have contributed to cancer care in the community.

He said the award belongs to all the people who have joined hands to make the lives of those suffering from cancer better.

”The award is not about myself but about many people including 450 colleagues of the Cachar Cancer Hospital and Research Centre, whose contribution is immense, and the not-for-profit society that set it up,” Kannan told reporters after being announced as the distinguished recipient of the ‘Hero For Holistic Healthcare’ award on the 65th anniversary of the Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation.

“The award belongs to many people, the hospital and the community who have joined hands to make lives better for those suffering from cancer and I am just one of the many faces involved in this effort,” the director of hospital said.

Assam Chief Minister’s Office in a post on ‘X’ said, “Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma extends his warm congratulations to Dr Ravi Kannan R on being bestowed with the prestigious Ramon Magsaysay Award 2023. Dr Kannan has played an impactful role in transforming cancer care in Assam, especially in rural areas. He is also a Padmashree recipient.”

Kannan said they are now focusing on ”decentralising cancer care by setting up smaller hospitals in different parts of the state and even in Tripura so that people do not have to travel far to reach a hospital for treatment”.

He said satellite clinics have been started in Karimganj, Hailakandi and Dima Hasao district, he said.

”We have to go near people and focus on prevention, treatment and cancer care. We need a lot of support for infrastructure and equipment, which are one-time investments, but what we need most is human resources which is a recurring requirement”, the oncologist said.

Both state and central governments have always supported us and with government health schemes like Atal Amrit Abhyan and others, poor people are getting better treatment, he said.

“We are a society-run centre but whenever we ask for any support, the government never says no,” he said.

Kannan said he wants to tell each and every patient that cancer is curable like any other disease. “I don’t want to see a single person dying without dignity because he or she has cancer,” he said.

Assam and other parts of the Northeast are more prone to cancer due to lifestyle of people as they consume a lot of tobacco, betel nuts and alcohol and they do not exercise much and follow proper diet, he said.

Son of an Indian Air Force personnel, Kannan hails from Chennai where he earlier worked as a surgeon in Adyar Cancer Institute before moving to Silchar with his wife in 2007 to start the Cachar Cancer Hospital.

Since 1958, the Ramon Magsaysay Award, dubbed as the Asian Nobel Prize, has been bestowed upon over three hundred outstanding individuals and organizations whose selfless service has offered their societies and the world successful solutions to some of the most challenging problems of human development.

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