AstraZeneca India collaborated with Cancer Awareness Prevention and Early Detection (CAPED) Trust, a grass root non-profit working in the area of healthcare since 2014, to expand its flagship initiative ‘Ganga Godavari Cancer Screening Program’ in Mathura, Uttar Pradesh. The kick-off event took place at the RKMSC Hospital, Vrindavan in the presence of Dr. Ajay Kumar Verma, Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Mathura, Swami Suprakashanand, Secretary, RKMSC Hospital, Swami Kalikrishnanand, Assistant Secretary, RKMSC Hospital, Dr. Than Singh Tomar, Surgical Oncologist, RKMSC Hospital along with AstraZeneca Team including Dr. Ajay Kumar Sharma, Director of Government Affairs and Ms. Amita Yadav, Patient Advocacy Lead, India.
Facilitated by Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) India, the primary aim of the program is to create cancer awareness, and detect oral, breast and cervical cancers at early stages among women through specialized screening camps. In the next six months, the program aims to screen 4,000 women from underprivileged communities in and around Mathura Taking the program one notch higher, CAPED will support women who need further diagnosis and treatment through their patient navigation program, in partnership with hospital partner Ramakrishna Mission Sevashrama Charitable (RKMSC) Hospital, Vrindavan in Mathura. Mr. Gagandeep Singh, Managing Director, AstraZeneca India addressed those present at the launch through a video message, “We launched the Ganga Godavari Cancer Screening Program on World Cancer Day 2019 at Maharasthra at the banks of river Godavari and have come a long way thus far covering select regions from the states of Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh uptil last year. Now that the world is coming back to normalcy post pandemic, it is important to bring the focus back on critical diseases such as cancer where early detection and a guided intervention can save lives. We look forward to working in Mathura with CAPED and Ramakrishna Mission Sevashrama Charitable Hospital towards this cause.”
“India’s cancer burden is growing exponentially year by year. From the common forms of cancers, breast cancer and cervical cancer have emerged to be the leading cause of deaths amongst women in India. Screening and early diagnosis of cancer is the need of the hour and under this initiative, we aim to screen women in the age range of 30-55 years from multiple villages across Mathura. The screening will be done in a mobile screening van by female doctors in the villages and for any further diagnosis and treatment, patients will be referred to Ramakrishna Mission Sevashram Charitable Hospital, Vrindavan”, said Ms. Mridu Gupta, CEO of CAPED.
Dr. Ajay Kumar Verma, the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) of Mathura district, spoke a few words at the launch. He said, “CAPED along with Ramakrishna Mission Sevashrama Charitable Hospital and all partners involved, have designed this program to benefit women in Mathura district, to screen for cancer, diagnose it early and treat it timely. This is a great initiative, and we are always prepared to support such initiatives.”
Realising the benefits of early screening, Government of India launched an operational framework for the country’s first national cancer screening program in November 2016. Under this, there will be mandatory screening for oral, breast, and cervical cancer in women over the age of 30. The Ganga Godavari programme aims to supplement the Government of India’s initiative of Ayushman Bharat Health and Wellness Centre program of early screening and diagnosis of cancer patients.