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Magsaysay Award for Dr.Shanta from Chennai Cancer Institute

Chennai | August 01, 2005
Chennai's Adyar Cancer Institute director Dr.V. Shanta is among this year's winners of the Ramon Magsaysay awards. Dr.Shanta was awarded the prize for public service and her "untiring leadership of the Cancer Institute as a centre of excellence and compassion for the study and treatment of cancer// in India."

She was awarded the Padma Shri in 1986. She has also won a number of national and international awards. On hearing about the award she said: "It's something nice for me and the Institute.” She is a member of the WHO advisory committee on cancer, has to her credit, 95 publications in national and international journals.

This annual awards is Asia's version of the Nobel Prize. It will be presented to six winners from Thailand, India, Indonesia, South Korea, Laos and Bangladesh on August 31. She did her MD in OG and specialised as cancer specialist at Cancer Institute. Muthulakshmi Reddy, India's first woman medical graduate and a social reformer who lost her sister to the disease, established the Adyar Cancer Institute in 1954.

The institute - started with two doctors including Shanta - was a single building with minimal diagnostic and therapeutic facilities and a cluster of 12 huts to house the patients.

Dr.Shanta took over as chairperson and director of the institute in 1979. She said:"It was a very difficult journey. Finances were hard to come by and daily existence was a struggle. It was a frustrating and painful period," said Shanta of the early days.

The institute's annual budget today is Rs.200 million.

In 1975, it was declared a regional centre of cancer treatment and research for the southern region by the Government of India, the first such cancer centre to be thus designated.

The hospital houses over 415 beds, of which 250 are free. Doctors here see over 70,000 patients from India, South and Southeast Asia annually. Over 60 percent of them are t
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