The best cancer is the one that never happens. Cancer affects millions of people each year across the length and width of India. The role of cancer care NGOs like Chhabi Sahayog Foundation(CSF) is to organise major health campaigns, efforts to understand and communicate about cancer at every level to help government healthcare monitoring agencies to refine prevention and screening methods, catch cancer sooner(and thus treat it sooner), and, ultimately, save more lives. CSF centre to facilitate free accommodation and affordable hygienic food to look after those hailing from economically backward families was initially launched in Navi Mumbai to assist cancer affected patients undergoing treatment at the Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai. Gradually over the last two years, CSF has established centres at Nashik, Rishikesh and will soon launch a centre in Varanasi, UP. Expanding our operation gradually across the nation is the number one priority. Today at the CSF Rishikesh Centre(lane no.13 Shivaji Nagar, Rishikesh, Uttarakhand) to commemorate the world cancer day second CSF foundation anniversary day was organised by the management team of CSF under the leadership of Sri Parth Roy(General Secretary, CSF) and Rathin Roy(Caretaker of CSF Rishikesh Centre and convener of CSF, Uttarakhand). This year’s World Cancer Day theme, ‘Close the Care Gap,’ speaks to the heart of what it means to achieve progress against cancer today. In the shadow of COVID’s terrible and unequal toll, health equity needs to be a central motivation for all of us working in cancer care and research.
On this auspicious day, the CSF Rishikesh team organised a puja and havan program to seek blessing for the health of cancer affected warriors and also to give strength to all those stakeholders who are working hard to eradicate cancer from our society. Havan and Vedic chants and recitations were performed by three pundits. Cancer affected warriors living at the centre and their families also took part in the Havan. Dr Atul Bambara, who has been honoured with the national teacher award by the Ministry of Education, Government of India, was honoured by the CSF as the chief guest, Sri Mohan Bhandari, a prominent social worker, was also honoured along with Sachin Mamgain ji, who is the co-district physical head of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh district Rishikesh. Dr Atul Bamrara Ji and Mohan Bhandari ji shared words of encouragement and gratitude to CSF. Cancer warriors were honoured by Dr Atul Bamrara ji, Sachin Mamgain ji and Mohan Bhandari Ji. They were handed over financial assistance under the flagship scheme of CSF, “Rajkumar Ranbir Singh Financial Assistance Scheme”. Stationery items for schools were distributed to twelve boys and girls living near the centre. It was followed by CSF second anniversary cake cutting ceremony. Finally, food packets were distributed to 80 people who were present. Today’s grand ceremony was supervised by Rathin Roy, who is the convener of Uttarakhand, CSF.
A holistic plan for national and state-level diagnosis and treatment of cancer is a key component of any overall cancer control plan. Its main goal is to cure cancer patients or prolong their life considerably, ensuring a good quality of life. For a diagnosis and treatment programme to be effective, it must never be developed in isolation. It needs to be linked to an early detection programme so that cases are detected at an early stage when treatment is more effective and there is a greater chance of cure. Where resources are limited, diagnosis and treatment services should initially target all patients presenting with curable cancers, such as breast, cervical and oral cancers that can be detected early. They could also include childhood acute lymphatic leukaemia, which has a high potential for cure although it cannot be detected early. Above all, services need to be provided equitably and sustainably. As and when more resources become available, the programme can be extended to include other curable cancers as well as cancers for which treatment can prolong survival considerably.
The government and private institutions operating in the healthcare sector are currently not adequate or equipped to handle a large volume of cases due to the sheer size of India(large population and geography). The role of cancer care NGOs thus become very significant and irreplaceable as the government healthcare ministry, health departments, government and private healthcare institutions are insufficient in numbers to mitigate the menace of cancer. In short, to smoothly roll out nationwide preventive as well as treatment programs cancer care volunteers run NGOs participation are a necessity. Participation of NGOs dedicated to Cancer care are also needed to face palliative care programmes, so that patients with advanced cancers, who can no longer benefit from treatment, will get adequate relief from their physical, psychosocial and spiritual suffering. Furthermore, programmes should include an awareness-raising component, to educate patients, affected families and community members about the cancer risk factors and the need for taking preventive measures to avoid developing cancer. In a large country with a huge population like India, the role of cancer care NGOs in mitigating the impact of cancer cannot be undermined. Resource mobilisation is a huge headache. Cancer care NGOs face a resource crunch due to the ongoing pandemic which is further worsened by the rising cost of treatment and cost of living. These factors act as a major impediment in the fight against cancer. It is in the larger interest of the nation that both the government and the people of India should assist these genuine cancer care NGOs.
Report by Partha Roy, General Secretary of Chhabi Sahayog Foundation – We Provide Fearlessness.