Kannan is the director of Cachar Cancer Hospital and Research Centre in the state of Assam. He provides free treatment, food and accommodations, as well as a home-care program for people in need.
Under his leadership, the hospital has expanded into a comprehensive cancer care center that caters to about 20,000 patients annually.
"Whatever it takes to treat the patient, if the people don't have resources, we must run around and find the resources. But nobody must be denied health care," Kannan told NHK in an interview.
The 59-year-old doctor left a position at a leading cancer institute in Chennai in 2007 to join what was then a small cancer center in a remote part of the country. The nearest hospital was 350 kilometers away.
The Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation praised Kannan's compassion for promoting patient-centric cancer care and instilling millions in the region with hope.
Other recipients promote environment, peace, education
There are three other recipients of the award this year.
Eugenio Lemos is an environmental activist and singer-songwriter in Timor-Leste, formerly East Timor. He promotes permaculture — sustainable agriculture that emphasizes responsible relations between nature and people.
Filipino peace builder Miriam Coronel-Ferrer was recognized for her role as the Philippine government's chief negotiator in reaching a peace agreement with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in 2014. She has also supported mediation efforts in countries such as Afghanistan and Myanmar.
Bangladeshi educator Korvi Rakshand fosters youth empowerment by providing free education to underprivileged children through traditional and online schools. The name of his foundation, JAAGO, means "wake up" in Bangla. It has reached 30,000 students in over 200 classrooms and grown into one of the largest nonprofit educational organizations in the country.
The award ceremony is scheduled for November 11 in Manila.