New Delhi: Lioness Distt 321 A2 in association with Fortis Hospital, Vasant Kunj and and Bala Pritam Cancer Care Hospital launched ‘UMEED’ an initiative which is focussed on providing quality and affordable cancer care to the underprivileged patients suffering from Breast, Thyroid and Oral cancer. The initiative was launched in the esteemed presence of Shri ShyamJaju (National Vice President, BJP), Mr Manjit Singh GK (President DSGMC), Col H S Chehal, Regional COO, Fortis Healthcare, and other dignitaries which included prominent AIIMS faculty like Dr G K Rath, Dr N K Shukla and Dr SVS Deo.
UMEED aims to bridge the gap between healthcare access and affordability. It ensures that quality care is given in a timely manner to those patients who require it irrespective of their financial capacity. UMEED is a result of the collaborative efforts of Dr Mandeep S Malhotra (Head, Dept of Head Neck and Breast Oncoplasty, Fortis VasantKunj), Lns. LalitaRakyn (Project Chairperson), Lioness Distt 321 A2, Dr Deepak Jha (Sr Consultant, Dept of Head Neck and Breast Oncoplasty) and their team comprising of Dr Mansi Chowhan, Dr Neha Sharma and MrManjit Singh. The team is expert in breast preservation and reconstruction, and one of the few that treat highly advanced or recurrent Head Neck Cancers.
Following is the description of some of the patients successfully treated under UMEED so far. The first patient 76-year-old, diabetic man from Bengal presented with an advanced stage of mouth cancer. The tumor was reaching the skin of the face and about to ulcerate on cheek. The patient underwent a 7 hour long advanced reconstructive surgery to get the face back and become amenable to radiotherapy. The second patient was a 40-year-old farmer from Rajasthan who was suffering from advanced and recurrent thyroid cancer. The tumor had grown to such a stage that his wind pipe was getting choked and he was having difficulty in breathing. The third patient was a 23-year-old domestic help suffering from breast tumor. She needed timely surgery which would remove the tumor completely with minimum scarring and disfigurement.UMEED provided them an opportunity to get appropriate and timely treatmentfrom highly skilled and experienced specialists at well-equipped centers such as Fortis VasantKunj and BalaPritam Cancer Careinspite of their financial limitations.
Shri ShyamJaju, National Vice President BJP, says, “This is a great initiative by Lioness Club & Fortis Hospital, VasantKunj and BalaPritam Cancer Care.It also aligns with the National Health Policy 2017 by focussing on universal access to good quality healthcare services to all at affordable costs. According to the WHO, 400 million people lack access to healthcare. This noble initiative will help save lives of the needy by providing them the correct diagnosis and treatment by the experts in the field”
Mr Manjit Singh GK(President DSGMC, says “BalaPritamCancer Care has been set up on the sikh principles of providing health care to all. He is proud to state that Dr. Mandeep S Malhotra and his team has already performed 76 successful surgeries at this centre”.
Mr Sandeep Guduru, Facility Director,says“We at Fortis Flt. Lt. RajanDhall Hospital, VasantKunj are extremely proud to be part of a program which is taking tertiary care treatment for such dreaded disease to the socially weaker strata of the society. We provide more than 40 % subsidy to the surgeries being done under the UMEED initiative. There is immense support for the program from oncologists, pathologists, radiologists and the whole medical fraternity.”
Lns. LalitaRakyn (Project Chairperson) after enumerating the social projects undertaken by Lioness Distt. 321 A2, stated that she is proud to be associated with Umeed.It is path breaking having focus on quality of treatment rather than charity. UMEED initiative in its first phase will provide surgery and chemotherapy for BREAST, THYROID and ORAL(mouth) cancers and she is hopeful that it will be extended to other cancers as well.
Dr Mandeep S Malhotra, Consultant, Surgical Oncology,Fortis Flt. Lt. RajanDhall Hospital, VasantKunj, Delhisays, “Cancer treatment is multidisciplinary in nature and consists of surgeries, chemotherapy, radiotherapy. These are extensive, expensive and difficult treatment procedures. While government agencies and NGOs have made laudable efforts in spreading awareness on detection and prevention of cancer, the public sector hospitals still remain the only option for majority of cancer patients. There exists a huge gap between the increasing number of cancer patients and the treatment facilities available across the country. Health insurance is limited and only a small percentage of the population is actually covered for oncology treatment. In essence it is not just lack of awareness but also lack of access to right treatment at right time and lack of means to affordthe cost of treatment which contribute to rising cancer deaths.”
A lot of factors such as lifestyle, environment, food and habits are contributing to the rapid rise of cancer. India is estimated to add nearly 17 lakh new cases of cancer by 2020. Breast cancer in women and head and neck cancer (including mouth cancer) particularly in men constitute a major portion of this cancer burden. Majority of cancers are curable if detected and treated timely. Unfortunately, lack of awareness on part of patients who fail to understand their symptoms lead to the cancer presenting at advanced stages.