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Strengthening the Fight Against Cancer: The Urgent Need for Expansion at the Binaytara Foundation Cancer Hospital in Janakpurdham, Nepal

Jul 2, 2024
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By Binay Shah, MD, MHA | President, Binaytara Foundation

Introduction 

Cancer, a relentless adversary that knows no borders, poses a significant challenge in regions like Janakpurdham, Nepal. Here, the battle against this devastating disease is often fought with limited resources. The Binaytara Foundation (BTF) has established a 25-bed cancer-focused hospital, the only facility of its kind in Madhesh Province, serving as a critical beacon of hope for those affected. However, the demand for comprehensive cancer care is rapidly outgrowing the capacity of this vital institution. The need to expand into a 200-bed multidisciplinary cancer hospital has never been more pressing.

The Current State and Its Limitations 

The existing facility, with its modest 25 beds, is overwhelmed by the high demand for specialized cancer care. Home to over six million people, Madhesh Province’s healthcare infrastructure is insufficient to manage the cancer burden effectively. Patients often face the dire choice of traveling long distances for treatment or forgoing care altogether. The limited capacity not only affects patient care but also restricts the range of services that can be offered, from essential surgery and radiation therapy to specialized oncological research.

The Case for Expansion 

Transforming the current facility into a 200-bed hospital is about more than just increasing bed count; it’s about creating a comprehensive cancer care ecosystem. Such expansion would allow for the integration of advanced medical technologies and the establishment of specialized departments for various cancer types, significantly enhancing treatment quality and patient outcomes. Moreover, a multidisciplinary approach can be fully realized in a larger setting, enabling better collaboration among oncology experts.

Enhancing Access to Care 

Expanding to a full-service 200-bed facility would dramatically improve access to cancer care for the residents of Janakpurdham and the broader region, including neighboring districts and even cross-border areas from India, such as the northeastern state of Bihar. This expansion is crucial for delivering timely and complex cancer treatments that are essential for patient survival and quality of life. In addition to the construction of the building itself we plan to invest in state-of-the-art equipment and technology to provide a full suite of cancer care.

Economic and Social Benefits 

The expansion would also yield substantial economic and social benefits. It would create numerous job opportunities, from medical professionals to administrative staff, thereby boosting the local economy. Providing more comprehensive care locally would also reduce the financial and emotional strain on patients and their families, who currently must travel for treatment, enhancing the economic stability of the entire region.

Support and Sustainability 

The expansion project aligns with the strategic health goals of local and provincial governments, which focus on improving healthcare infrastructure. Collaboration with these government bodies, along with international partners, is crucial for securing the funding needed to execute this large-scale project. Sustainability will be ensured through a model that combines international standard care with government-standard costs, making it accessible to a broad patient population. We will provide care to all patients, including and especially if they are from low-resource communities. The hospital will help us deliver on our mission to improve global health care and health equity.

Conclusion 

The proposed expansion of the Binaytara Foundation’s cancer hospital from a 25-bed to a 200-bed multidisciplinary facility represents a transformative step forward in the fight against cancer in Nepal and the broader region. It is a vision that not only focuses on enhanced patient care but also encompasses broader implications for education, research, and economic growth. This project requires the concerted effort of various stakeholders, including the government, healthcare professionals, and international donors. 

With the necessary support, this expansion can serve as a model of innovative, sustainable healthcare in developing countries. By expanding and improving cancer care, the Binaytara Foundation continues to save lives and improve the quality of life for thousands, reinforcing its role as a leader in global health, specifically in hematology and oncology. This expansion is not just an investment in infrastructure; it’s an investment in hope, life, and the prosperity of the region.

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