New Delhi: To raise awareness about cancer, especially among the rural population, a Delhi-based hospital has conducted a special drive to reach out to hundreds of village school teachers and sarpanches. In the run-up to World Cancer Day on February 4, the BLK Super Specialty Hospital organised a ceremony on Saturday to felicitate sarpanches each of whom contributed to this campaign by sensitising 100 families in his village and convinced them to attend the Cancer Talks and the cancer screening camps organised by the hospital.
The campaign which started in December, and so far has covered nearly 65 villages. Around 700 teachers in outer Delhi and Haryana actively contributed in spreading awareness about the disease in their villages and schools, a hospital official said.
According to the official, the felicitation ceremony was attended by nearly 50 sarpanches from Jhajjar, Bahadurgarh, Badli, Khorkhoda, Rohtak, Sonipat, Gannaur and outer Delhi villages.
Dr Surender K Dabas, Director of Surgical Oncology and the Chief of Robotic Surgery at BLK Cancer Centre, said, “Much needs to be done to break barriers, including the stigma on cancer, particularly in rural areas where it is a taboo.”
“Experience from our outreach programmes in rural areas shows that people are still not aware about the prevalence of the disease, its symptoms, screening and facilities available for treatment and care. Lack of awareness among the rural populace, especially among women, is a matter of big concern,” he said.
Senior consultant, Gynecologic Oncology, Dr Neha Kumar said in urban areas, women are aware about gynecologic cancer. But in rural areas, due to social barriers and lack of comprehensive healthcare facilities, people do not talk about it.”
“Hence, it is difficult for women to seek services to detect the disease early. Several cases go undetected and our cancer database fails to come out with real data. It is encouraging to see that our special drive has motivated villagers to seek help and come forward and participate in our screening campaigns,” Dr Kumar said.
Teachers of rural schools played a role of powerful catalyst in making people especially the most vulnerable children aware about the disease.
India will observe World Cancer Day on Monday with global experts calling for action with the theme – ‘I am and I will’ on early detection of the disease to significantly improve patient survival.