In a moment of profound pride for the people of Barak Valley in Assam, Dr Ravi Kannan has been announced as the distinguished recipient of the 'Hero For Holistic Healthcare' award on 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 India and beyond.
The Ramon Magsaysay Award, often regarded as Asia's highest honour, honours remarkable people and organisations that have ushered in dramatic improvements in human progress. Dr. Ravi Kannan's dedication to holistic healthcare, particularly in the difficult field of cancer care, has earned him this distinguished award.
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Dr Kannan's pioneering contribution to revolutionising cancer care in India's North Eastern Region (NER) lies at the core of the award. The NER, with its remoteness and poor medical access, had enormous challenges in combating cancer, a disease with a high death rate and significant emotional and financial consequences for patients and their families.
While the region's first cancer hospital opened in 1981, the Cachar Cancer Hospital and Research Centre (CCHRC) was founded in 1996 by a non-profit organisation. Dr. Ravi Kannan's revolutionary leadership, on the other hand, catapulted CCHRC into a comprehensive cancer care hospital. Dr. Kannan, who became hospital director in 2007, offered creative tactics and a caring vision that helped greatly improve the hospital's capabilities.
CCHRC has grown into a comprehensive facility with twenty-eight departments covering essential fields such as cancer, pathology, radiology, and palliative care under his leadership. The hospital's workforce increased from twenty-three to 451, a monument to Dr. Kannan's ability to inspire and lead.
Dr Kannan's keen insight led to the realisation that having access to cutting-edge facilities was only the first step. He implemented pro-poor programmes such as free treatment, accommodation, and a homecare programme to tackle hurdles such as patient noncompliance owing to variables such as distance, cost, and despair. These measures increased patient compliance from 28% to 70%, allowing the hospital to give free or subsidised cancer care to hundreds of new patients each year.
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