How three organisations came together to serve 9,000 cancer patients annually

With United Way Bengaluru’s initiative, 3M India has stepped forward to support Sri Shankara Cancer Foundation under CSR

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Praggya Guptaa | June 15, 2021 | New Delhi


#Sri Shankara Cancer Foundation   #United Way   #3M India   #cancer   #healthcare   #CSR   #Bengaluru  
Dr BS Srinath (Photo courtesy: shankaracancerfoundation.org)
Dr BS Srinath (Photo courtesy: shankaracancerfoundation.org)

There were many preventable cancer deaths in 2020 due to lack of medical care and access as the Covid-19 pandemic has shifted the entire attention from these chronic ailments to itself. A patient named Javed Khan, struggling with cancer and on chemotherapy, contracted Covid and he could not get underlying treatment on time and passed away. Many such incidences happened that shook us to the core during the pandemic. People not only suffered Covid and related fatalities but also ambiguity among hospitals caused patients with life-threatening diseases to suffer more.

“Most of the cancer hospitals were not inducted by the government to treat Covid patients,” Dr BS Srinath, Surgical Oncologist, Sri Shankara Cancer Foundation, told Governance Now. “Measures such as lockdowns, as we experienced, mass migration of labour force, complete breakdown of transport of all types lead to untold misery and delay in reaching the hospital.” He further suggested that a national policy to prepare the country for any such future pandemic or national disasters, which should include manpower training, infrastructure building, frequent testing of preparedness and quality assurance, has become an urgent need for the nation.

Various reports predict that there will be a 12% rise in the cancer burden in India. Is the country ready to take that burden? Despite the government’s budgetary outlay of over Rs. 64,000 crore over six years to strengthen the healthcare infrastructure, do we have enough allocation and focus on the critical needs of the cancer patients? “The incidence of cancer will indeed double by 2040; our country is not ready or capable of handling that burden. Every effort should be made to reduce the cancer burden in the country. Present, budgetary allocation is inadequate to address the demand,” Dr Srinath said.

Despite the budget allocations and efforts, there is a lack of availability and awareness about cancer cure. Also, the availability of quality and affordable treatment is far from the reach of people. Government hospitals are already burdened with patients exceeding their capacity and delay in the treatment proves to be fatal and decreases the life span of patients. “We at Sri Shankara Cancer Foundation will spread awareness by mass contact programmes through various media, by long-term activity participatory interventional programmes in rural areas and by training healthcare workers besides regular conduct of cancer detection camps, precancerous lesions and early detection of cancer and prompt free treatment. Our Chickaballapura district cancer prevention project is an effort in that direction,” he added.

CSR has proven to be crucial in crisis times, be it Covid or any disaster response. 3M India is offering support to hospitals to elevate their infrastructure. Recently, 3M India has partnered with Sri Shankara Cancer Foundation Hospital to contribute towards strengthening the healthcare infrastructure. Ramesh Ramadurai, Managing Director, 3M India, elaborated that it has always been their endeavour to help tertiary care centres in building capacity. This has been done through upskilling, practice upgradation, improving competence and knowledge sharing. All these are targeted at ultimately enhancing the patient experience. “The partnership with Sri Shankara Cancer Foundation Hospital is unique. They have been doing pioneering work in the field of oncology and providing affordable treatment to cancer patients. They were also doing a lot of high-quality research in cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment,” he said.

Some organisations are improving lives by mobilising the caring power of communities around the world to advance the common good. All to support our communities, United Way Bengaluru (UWBe) is the organization that facilitated the partnership between the hospital and 3M. Rajesh Krishnan, Director, United Way of Bengaluru, said, “UWBe has been working with Sri Sankara Cancer Foundation and are conversant with their work being undertaken in the field of paediatric Cancer which is 90% curable. When we reached out to 3M India with this opportunity to help in the cause of supporting paediatric cancer with this partnership under CSR, there was an immediate affirmative response from their CSR Committee. The outcome of this engagement is a deep connection between all three organisations where there is a clear understanding and respect of each other’s goals, ability to address the support system required for early detection of cancer, create a child-friendly eco-system for the treated patients and importantly commit to the cause of fostering research in the field of oncology in the years to come. This intervention is supporting over 9,000 patients annually.”

 

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