B.K.L. Walawalkar Hospital – A Legacy of Oncology Care
It all started with a need to address the growing menace of cancer cases in Konkan region of Maharashtra. Konkan per say is an extremely challenging area for implementation of any public health program. This is more true for oncology care as it involves many a dimensions ranging from preventive, curative, rehabilitative and palliative care.
The difficult geographical terrain of Konkan, low awareness levels regarding cancer in general population, belief in alternative medicine and traditional healers like mantrics, poor socio-economic levels, less priority being accorded to health, seasonal variations in diseases and health care utilization all came together in Konkan and made the prevention, detection and cure of cancer even more complex.
This called for a super-specialty set-up for oncology care in Konkan region which would cater to all dimensions of this health challenge and address the felt need of rural population of Konkan region on an urgent basis. This need was recognized by the power that be and also by Dr. Shripad Banavali, a well known oncologist from Tata Memorial Centre who was coming on a regular basis to B.K.L Walawalkar Hospital since the time of its inception. This need to do something for Cancer patients of Konkan was then recognized by Tata Memorial Centre, which is the largest oncology centre in the whole of South – East Asia.
An appropriate partner was found by Tata Memorial Centre in the form of B.K.L Walawalkar Hospital Diagnostic and Research Centre. B.K.L Walawalkar Hospital had all the necessary background, infrastructure, human resources, social commitment and support of trustees, which made the institution eligible for a strategic partnership with Tata Memorial Centre for Oncology Care.
The Strong Foundation of Oncology Services at B.K.L Walawalkar Hospital
- International standards quality care in collaboration with Tata Memorial Centre: Tata Memorial Centre Team of Oncologist, Onco-surgeons, Radiation oncologist, Pathologist, Statisticians and Administrators regularly visiting Walawalkar Hospital to ensure highest Quality Oncology care. The hospital itself is an ISO certified institution.
- Oncology services made accessible to rural population of Konkan region thus leading to early detection of cancers, raised awareness levels and reduced cancer mortality and morbidity over a period of time.
- Affordability as oncology services are provided free of cost to the needy patient. Thus the project is able to ensure equitable distribution of health care services irrespective of the ability to pay.
- A series of innovations are involved in the project with on-going research in the field of metronomic by Dr. Banavali. Metronomic Chemotherapy substantially decreases the cost, side-effects and in turn increases the compliance of chemotherapy. This metronomic project was born at Walawalkar Hospital and is now implemented at Tata Memorial Centre. Research is going on in the field of Immune Modulating Radiation too.
- Local staff appointed and trained to high levels of proficiency in oncology care. Many nursing staff is taken up from B.K.L Walawalkar Hospital by Tata Memorial Centre due to their high degree of technical skills and quality.
The Oncology Services have a very favorable cost-benefit ratio and high social impact value.
- The Oncology services at B.K.L Walawalkar Hospital are viewed upon as Model Cancer Services and many a foreign visitors from Rosalind Franklin University, National University of Singapore, B.B.C team and delegates from other foreign countries pay visit to learn about this unique cancer project. The National Cancer Control Program has also taken a note of this Oncology Model. Many famous personalities in the related field like Dr. Anil Kakodkar Ex Chairmen A.E.R.B, Dr. S.K. Jain – Chairmen N.P.C.L, Dr. K.S Nair
- National Cancer Control Program have paid their visit and provided their expert guidance to Oncology Services at B.K.L Walawalkar Hospital.
Over the year community participation has substantially increased with many village Gram Panchayats, Self-help groups, social activist approaching Walawalkar Hospital on their own for arranging oncology services for their villagers. Many trusts like Thakur Trust have come forward with funding proposals.
- The oncology services have helped in Advocacy, Communication, and Social Mobilization efforts in the field of Oncology and achieved the dream of providing high quality affordable and accessible oncology care for the rural population of Konkan region of Maharashtra.