Programme H.O.P.E – a Narayana Health CSR Initiative for Cancer Prevention
Programme H.O.P.E – a Narayana Health CSR Initiative for Cancer Prevention

By auther pic. CSRBOX

April 15, 2019

Narayana Health

If we expect working class and the poor, especially from rural areas to come to the city for detection of cancer, it’s not going to happen. We have to reach out to them, in their own town, preferably in their own household’ says Dr. Devi Prasad Shetty, Chairman, Narayana Health.

 

All around the globe, there are over 1 million cases of cancer detected every year and of which 70% of cancer deaths are registered among low and middle-income countries. Around 30% of cancer cases in India are of Head and Neck cancer, mainly because of beetle nut chewing habits in Indians. The incidents are disproportionately higher among young women who are in a productive period of life. Annually, 140000 new breast cancer patients are diagnosed and cancer incidence among reproductive age group (15 to 49 years) is three times higher in females.

 

To contribute significantly, Narayana Health first undertook the evaluation to reach out to the vulnerable women and men before launching the program. In 2014, a mammography bus was donated by the Nilekani family to give ‘Project HOPE’ the jumpstart. The bus has travelled more than 95,000 km till date. It provides for screening facillity at the village level.

 

Dr. Anupama Shetty – General Manager, Corporate Social Responsibility, Narayana Health says – ‘The most important perspective of the program is that we wanted to move the needle to opportunistic screening to need base screening.’

 

Cancer happens to evoke fear so Narayana Health softens its approach by saying that they are conducting screenings for non-communicable diseases, they check patients for a range of other issues like diabetes, anemia, hypertension, vision, etc. So there’s a whole range of other tests that happens and amongst them tests like oral cavity examinations, breast examinations are also conducted.

 

They also make sure the care provided by them is continuous; the patients just can’t be abandoned after the initial screening. So for the very reason, dedicated personnel are appointed at the hospital who helps the patients navigate the system.

 

Breast cancer is the commonest cancer in urban Indian women and second most common in rural women, with 140,000 new breast cancer patients being diagnosed annually. Ubiquitous realities such as lack of organized screening programs, the paucity of diagnostic aids, patriarchal mindset, illiteracy and lack of awareness have resulted in the majority of women being diagnosed at an advanced stage. In resource-constrained settings, physical examination by trained personnel has been considered a viable option.

 

A Survivor tells her tale –

Sanamma Patil, a cancer survivor narrates her story – ‘I went to a hospital in Sirsi. The doctor didn’t tell me about the situation. He told the aanganwadi teacher that I should consult and visit another hospital. A camp was organized by Narayana Hrudayala, people told me they were coming, why don’t you visit and thus I came to the camp. They took my information like my name, address and other details, and then I had my checkup. They told me about the lumps in my breast and that I should get it treated at the earliest. I was asked to immediately visit Narayana Hrudalaya and meet Dr. Akshita. They asked me to take along my ration card, on which I can get a subsidy and the operation was done for free. It’s been 11 months that I have been cancer free.’

 

Under ‘Project H.O.P.E’, 23831 women have been screened for breast cancer, 5480 mammograms done. Around 61% of cancer cases were detected at Stage I and Stage II and have 43 cancer-free patients.

 

Dr. Devi Prasad adds – ‘The buzzword is –the early detection-. We initially started the programme only in Bangalore and now we have expanded and are conducting thousands of camps all over India with a large number of men and women being screened.

 

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