As part of a 3-day inaugural event, Ambuja Foundation collaborated with Association of Breast Surgery, UK (ABS) along with its counterpart Association of Breast Surgeons in India (ABSI) and Tata Cancer Care Program, Chandrapur, to introduce Continuous Medical Education specific training on Cancer Awareness in the rural communities of Chandrapur, Maharashtra.
Health experts from UK and India were part of this event, providing education and training on best practices and techniques to regional level doctors practicing oncology, newly appointed Community Health Officers of Health and Wellness centers, and Government health officials. A special segment of this event provided capacity building to Frontline Health workers, ASHA, ANMs and Sakhis to identify high risk signs and symptoms, teach self-breast examination techniques (including practical training on lump identification on breast prosthesis), early identification of cancer cases and recommendations for treatment.
The specialists were also present during the 1.5-day health education and check-up camp, at which over approximately 300 women beneficiaries attended for a check-up and frontline workers got a hands-on experience on identification and treatment methods to be used. While specialists provided knowledge and screening for breast cancer, the team from Tata Cancer Care Program also screened for cervical and oral cancer.
Cancer is a serious health issue being neglected in rural communities with Breast Cancer being the highest incidence worldwide, including India. Taking a strategic decision, Ambuja Foundation decided to introduce cancer interventions under its Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) umbrella. Ambuja Foundation has created a strong cadre of Sakhis in Chandrapur who have helped in improving health indicators in MCH and NCDs and played a major role during COVID-19. By training them on Cancer Interventions via health professionals, behavior change communication will be initiated in an attempt to improve indicators on cancer in Ambuja Foundation's rural communities.
“It is a privilege to work in close collaboration with oncologists, doctors and other health professionals of ABS, ABSI and Tata Trusts which will be such a huge opportunity for our regional healthcare workers and Sakhis to gain knowledge from them. We hope to expand this program across our locations to improve the status of cancer thus creating healthy communities and we intend to replicate this event in other locations,” said Pearl Tiwari, CEO, Ambuja Foundation.
“Our team of health professionals have formed an International Forum to work with women across the globe and improve outcomes from Breast Cancer. I am delighted that ABS and ABSI have teamed up with Ambuja Foundation and are able to offer our expertise and knowledge to the crucial health workers of rural India. We will continue to work together with Ambuja Foundation and help improve health indicators of Breast Cancer in other parts of rural India,’’ said Dr. Leena Chagla, FRCS, Consultant surgeon and President – Elect, ABS, UK.
“It is heartening to see our organizations collaborating together to work on a common cause especially for rural India. We need such alliances in India, but eventually we need Indian solutions for Indian problems, and we are delighted to collaborate with NGOs like Ambuja Foundation to find these” said Dr. SVS Deo, President, ABSI and Head Department of Surgical Oncology, AIIMS, New Delhi.
Ambuja Foundation's health interventions have been highly appreciated by the district health and medical authorities due to its work for the past many years in bringing behavioral change in the communities. Ambuja Foundation will continue to work with the medical fraternity in Chandrapur and in close collaboration with the Tata Cancer Care Program to provide referrals and treatment. As part of the initiative, Ambuja Foundation will work alongside local hospitals providing beneficiaries referrals for medical, surgical and radiation oncology treatment along with ensuring medical insurance schemes are available.
Trainers who shared their knowledge and expertise:
- Dr. Leena Chagla Consultant Surgeon and Lead Clinician and President Elect for ABS.
- Dr. SVS Deo, Head of Department Surgical Oncology, AIIMS and President, ABSI
- Dr. Mina Youseff, Consultant Surgeon, Norwich
- Dr. Dayalan Clarke, Consultant Surgeon, Warwick
- Dr. Victoria Harmer, Nurse Consultant, London
- Dr. Karishma Kirti, Consultant Breast Specialist and Oncoplastic Surgeon, Raheja
- Dr. Ravi Kanan, Oncologist, Chachar Cancer Silchar
- Dr. Amit Jaiswal, Oncologist, Nagpur
- Dr. Ruth James, Consultant Surgeon Luton
- Dr. Anjali Dawale, Director of Education, ABSI
- Dr. Fiona Tsang-Wrigth, Consultant Surgeon, Wycombe
- Dr. Shubhdra Gaola, Oncologist, Chachar Cancer Silchar
- Dr. Vinayak Sonawane, Sr. Manager, Health Vertical - Ambuja Foundation
Also present were Dr. Tembhe, Block Health Officer, Korparna Block, Dr. Kalpana Gulwade, Gynaecologist, Aarushi Social Work Foundation, Dr. Manisha Wasade, Gynecologists', Obgy Society, Dr. Rujuta Mundhada, Chandrapur, Dr. Aparna Kolate Chandrapur and other government doctors.