Siliguri: There’s hope that cancer can be cured with diagnosis at the right time and treatment in the right way. When Dr Saptarshi Ghosh returned to his hometown Siliguri with the ambition of setting up his oncology practice, he didn’t realize the state of cancer care in the region was so poor.
Those who could afford were travelling long distances to Kolkata and beyond in search of cure, and those who couldn’t resigned to their own fate. Dr Ghosh felt something was needed to be done, but he could not do it alone – restore hope and make a difference to thousands of lives. He set out to build a vibrant ecosystem, which received a major boost by the West Bengal government’s universal health insurance programme, Swasthya Saathi.
As part of this initiative and to create awareness on cancer care, the third edition of Hope & Heal Cancer Survivors Meet held recently in Siliguri brought eminent personalities from all walks of life, healthcare professionals, and the brave hearts who beat back cancer with a little help from Dr Ghosh. The cancer survivors took turns to share their stories of courage, grit, and determination.
Dr Ghosh knows that it’s just a start, and much more is needed to be done. “My vision is to ensure that no one needed to travel outside Bengal for better diagnosis and treatment. We want to deliver ‘equity in cancer care’ where everyone should have the right to treatment, irrespective of their finances. The community of survivors has a very critical role to play,” he said.
Despite his busy schedule with the chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s visit later in the day, Siliguri Mayor Gautam Deb said while inaugurating the programme, “The way Dr Ghosh has expanded the scale of care as a true son of the soil is exemplary. It’s a great example of how government and private partnership can deliver tangible results in ensuring the health and wellbeing of the people.”
Bengali film actor and Chandipur TMC MLA Soham Chakraborty expressed his solidarity with the cause. “I’m here to salute the cancer warriors. Listening to their stories and how Dr Ghosh has guided them in every step provided me a lot of inspiration for my own initiatives for delivering greater good,” he said.
The evening concluded on a high note with everyone swaying to the electrifying performance of National Award-winning singer Iman Chakraborty.