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Assam Oncologist Ravi Kannan honoured with Ramon Magsaysay Award

In a moment of profound pride for the people of Assam, director of Cachar Cancer Hospital Society Silchar, Padma Shri Dr R Ravi Kannan has been announced as the distinguished recipient of the ‘Hero For Holistic Healthcare’ award in the 65th anniversary of the Ramon Magsaysay Award foundation.

He stands as the sole awardee from India in this edition, a testament to his remarkable contributions to healthcare in the nation and beyond.

The Ramon Magsaysay Award, renowned as Asia’s premier honor, recognizes exceptional individuals and organizations that have ushered transformative changes in human development. Dr. Ravi Kannan’s commitment to holistic healthcare, especially in the challenging realm of cancer care, has earned him this prestigious accolade.

The prize was established in April 1957 by the trustees of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund based in New York City with the concurrence of the Philippine government. It is often called the “Nobel Prize of Asia”.

At the heart of the recognition is Dr. Kannan’s pioneering role in revolutionizing cancer care in the North Eastern Region (NER) of India. The NER, characterized by its remoteness and limited medical access, faced tremendous obstacles in battling cancer, a disease of high mortality and substantial emotional and financial burdens for patients and their families.

While the region’s first cancer hospital opened only in 1981, the Cachar Cancer Hospital and Research Centre (CCHRC) emerged in 1996 through the initiative of a non-profit society.

However, it was Dr. Ravi Kannan’s transformative leadership that elevated CCHRC into a comprehensive cancer care facility. Taking charge in 2007 as the hospital director, Dr. Kannan brought in innovative strategies and a compassionate vision that helped expand the hospital’s capabilities significantly.

Dr Kannan, a surgical oncologist, is now the director of the Cachar Cancer Hospital and Research Centre (CCHRC) in Silchar. He and his medical team have transformed things gradually, busting myths about cancer being incurable and expensive. They have made treatment affordable to over 20,000 patients every year, and more importantly, empowered their attendants with ad-hoc jobs on campus.

The Cachar Cancer Hospital and Research Centre now has 140 beds, sophisticated surgical infrastructure for all kinds of surgeries, and a dedicated medical team of 400 doctors, nurses and staff.

In a testament to Dr Kannan and his team, the follow-up ratio of the hospital is more than 90 per cent today. Under his supervision, the hospital, among other developments, also saw its first microvascular surgery for a cancer patient in 2012, a first for the Northeast.

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