THE Binaytara Foundation, an international health nonprofit based in Washington, has partnered with the city of Ramgopalpur in Nepal to establish the region’s first public comprehensive cancer center, which will serve about 20,000 patients annually from Nepal and its neighbor India.
The center, to be located in Nepal’s Province No. 2, is desperately needed in the region as it currently lacks access to state-of-the-art cancer care. The closest comprehensive cancer center is about a 10-hour drive to Kathmandu, but cultural and financial barriers prevent most residents of Province No. 2 from making that trip.
As such, cancer patients in the region go undiagnosed or are diagnosed at terminal stages, said Binaytara Foundation President Dr. Binay Shah.
“Many patients would hardly visit a doctor,” he said. “There aren’t adequate cancer services in the region.”
The cancer center project is estimated to cost $7 million over four years. Costs include construction, training, equipment and more. The local city government of Ramgopalpur will assist in funding the center, although the Binaytara Foundation will provide the majority of the funding and support.
“Everybody is excited about moving forward,” Shah said.
The first steps will be establishing preventive oncology services, and hospice and palliative care. By the end of 2018, the goal is to establish a high-quality laboratory and radiology services. A doctor has already been hired to manage the hospice and palliative care program.
Shah traveled to Nepal in mid-June to make progress on the cancer center by meeting with the Ramgopalpur mayor, other politicians, and local physicians.
In honor of Shah’s visit, the city of Ramgopalpur organized a free health camp for its citizens. Shah and three other physicians treated over 600 patients in two days. He said the amount of work was overwhelming at times but worth it. Among the patients he saw, he said about 15 of them had cancer.