The lanes near the Tata Memorial Hospital in Mumbai sees numerous cancer patients and their families in hope and despair as they make home on spread-out newspapers and plastic sheets on the footpath.
Geetanjali Minhas | May 6, 2019 | Mumbai
As you walk through the lanes near the Tata Memorial Hospital in Mumbai, you can see hope and despair living in the same place. With ID cards listing their case numbers hanging around their necks, numerous cancer patients and their family members lie down on spread-out newspapers and plastic sheets on the footpath. After spending thousands on treatment in their home states they have finally come to the country’s largest tertiary care facility, clinging on to their only hope. The hospital treats around 6 lakh patients a year and offers cure at subsidised rates, which is still out of reach for many. To cut down on their expenses on a room in the hospital and save money on commuting for follow-ups patients make a beeline on the footpath – their makeshift home. Their bare minimum possessions stuffed inside plastic bags and cardboard boxes are littered all over. Many have exhausted their savings on the treatment and are worrying about funding the cure. Here are a few glimpses of their life.
Rekha Pandey, 35, is suffering from uterus cancer. Along with her husband, Kailash Pandey, she came to Tata Memorial, “the best for cancer treatment”, on March 12. The couple hails from Chhatarpur in Madhya Pradesh. Rekha is undergoing chemotherapy and the couple has made the footpath their home for four months; there is no dharamshala nearby. Most of her tests are conducted in the hospital, but she is advised to get some tests done from a private clinic.
Renu Devi’s treatment for liver cancer started at Tata Memorial in February. The 55-year-old has spent '27,000 as out-of-pocket expenses so far. She has made the footpath her makeshift home as the hospital only provides her treatment, not accomodation.
For the past two months, the footpath has been Mahabub Ali’s home. The 66-year-old farmer from West Bengal has liver cancer. The security staff at the hospital constantly chase him off from the footpath. He needs '1,20,000 more to have a stent placed in his intestines. He has an AB-PMJAY card, entitling him to care, but that does not cover his test expenses.
Sabina Khatoon, 40, was diagnosed with liver cancer three years ago. She stays in Malad in Mumbai but has shifted to the footpath to save time and money on her long commute. She has been advised to undergo chemotherapy.
In October 2017, 33-year-old Mohammad Tahir Ali came to Mumbai from Malda in West Bengal for the treatment of brain cancer. The disease has now spread to his eyes and mouth. He used to stay in a nearby mosque earlier, but was told to leave due to his Bengali origins. He had shifted to a lodge later but increasing expenses forced him and his family to reside on the footpath. His family had to sell their village land to gather money for an emergency operation. They have even taken a Bandhan loan of '80,000. So far Ali has incurred a cost of '2 lakh on his treatment. He needs plastic surgery now, which will cost '50,000.
Tuntuni Mandal from West Bengal first received chemotherapy and radiation therapy in 2018. The 39-year-old suffers from stomach cancer. She has come to the hospital for a follow-up and has decided to take refuge on the footpath. So far she has paid '1.5 lakh in out-of-pocket expenses for her treatment.
Hutaja Khatoon, 48, is from Bihar. She suffers from chin cancer and has been undergoing radiation therapy for five months. Her son and daughter live with her on the footpath. Till now they have spent some '2 lakh as out-of-pocket expenses. “Every day charities and even individual donate food, water, toiletries and even money to us,” says Shabnam, her daughter.
History was created as prime minister Narendra Modi participated in the foundation-stone-laying ceremony for the new Ram Temple in Ayodhya on Wednesday, ending centuries of controversy. Modi performed Bhoomi Pujan at `Shree Ram Janmabhoomi Mandir`, in the presence of a very limited number o
The most joyous moment of a woman’s life is to breastfeed her baby for the first time. Breast milk is the foundation to build a strong bonding between mother and child and must not be missed by any newborn in its nutrition uptake. The World Health Organization (WHO) is encouraging people to “su
As part of its 3T strategy of focusing on testing, tracing and treating to contain the Covid-19 pandemic, India crossed a landmark, testing 2,02,02,858 COVID-19 samples so far. This is pursuant to the key strategy followed by state/UT governments under the guidance of the centre for managem
The continuing spread of COVID-19 has emerged as the biggest roadblock to development in 2020. Citizens across the globe have been breathing an air of panic, fear, and confusion, not knowing what lies ahead. The pandemic has hit some communities and countries harder than the others, requiring everyone to u
Senior BJP leader Kirit Somaiya has blasted BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) commissioner IS Chahal for taking credit for reducing the number of coronavirus infections in the in the slum sprawl of Dharavi, and wondered how could the authorities make boasts when 10,000-plus people have died.&n
Firebrand BJP leader Kirit Somaiya has blasted BMC Commissioner, IS Chahal, for claiming credit for reducing numbers of coronavirus cases in Mumbai city and said that BMC’s own Sero Survey has revealed that 57% slum dwellers have developed immunity which is why the cases are coming down.