“We reached 2,00,000 women with our healthcare services who are not allowed out of their houses in 8 villages along River Hindon”
“My daughter-in-law can not come out of the house, she is absolutely alright. Whatever you want to talk about, talk to me only” This was the first reaction of a woman called Bano, 53 years old, at Khaprana village of Baghpat district in the sugarcane belt of Uttar Pradesh. When team Aaroogya reached her house at 1pm in the afternoon after our camp services, Bano came out with ‘ghungat’ covering her face and head. Her warm greetings to the team and delicious ‘kadi-chawal’ (curd rice) made our day. She has 6 children and that is the average no. of kids of each woman we reached, 12 being maximum.
When we finished doing her digital survey on our fancy Tablet, she was initially perplexed and denied to take the rest of the service of clinical check up, chair side diagnosis as she expected a huge fee to be paid to us at the end. But our satisfaction and happiness was when she looked overwhelmed and watery eyed to avail the services for no cost like every other woman in these villages started. Yet we were taken aback when she gave us a history of Breast cancer being diagnosed 2 years ago. She mentioned initially it was a pea-shaped pimple like over her right breast near her right armpit, no pain or irritation, no family history. 6 months passed and it was not healing, pus discharge started. Her daughter in law, who had lost her young aunt due to Breast Cancer suggested her to ask her husband to take her to a doctor in town, she was too shy to even talk or let anyone know about that part of the body. The aggressive local disease then spread in no time and her family took notice when she developed a bony hard swelling over right chest region. The family members and fellow villagers took notice and thought it to be a Nature’s phenomena rather a punishment by ‘God’. Her daughter-in-law again requested for consulting a doctor in town. The village has no doctors and we were very fortunate to be the first health experts to reach there and work. She was diagnosed with Grade 3 Cancer and is under Chemotherapy after surgical removal of both the breasts. It did not spread anywhere else by “God’s grace”, they believed. We immediately sent mobilized her for fresh diagnosis to monitor the case.
Next, when we asked her to call her daughter in law to the camp, she refused to do so. Her husband said, our daughter-in-law can not step out of the house. On that note, Rishabh asked him a witty question in local dialect of western Uttar Pradesh, “Then how did she go to school and college.” To which he replied, girls do not go to school in our village. There is a village in the next village but it is too unsafe to send them there. It was unnerving to know. We were even more intimidated.
This further motivated us to democratize wider reach and uplift these girls and women who are not allowed out of their houses and stay just 4 hours away from us, in Delhi, a cosmopolitan ecosystem.
We then explained all the women together that, In India, The type of breast cancer that is killing young girls under 20 and 30 years of age, is called Triple Negative, which is common in India. And we went to Bano’s house to teach serve her 19 year old daughter-in-law too who was very excited that we went to her house and did her check-ups and diagnosis.
We were pertinent to teach each one of them about “Breast self-Examination”, every month to keep a check on themselves after every cycle of menstruation, this is called Secondary prevention. This is for all of us and our loved ones, as 1 out of every 25 Indian woman and 1 out of every 8 woman globally is falling prey to the deadly disease, making it the commonest cancer killing women worldwide.
Anybody having a history of Ovarian cancer can also develop Breast Cancer. And we met ‘Gauri amma’, 62 years old, in her house at village Rehatna, Baghpat district who was undergoing her 9th cycle of chemotherapy. We counselled her 32 year old daughter and mother of 4 to undergo preventive tests and did her Ultrasound and clinical check up to check for any developing abnormality as her mother has a history. We do the patient mobilization to Gramin Healthcare in case of expensive tests and diagnosis at present, our onground partner supported by IFFCO Kisan.
The Digital Survey Primary Data that our Research Analysts are recording on-ground in camps and going door to door, travelling from Delhi to these villages, staying in each village and working from 6 AM to 5 PM. Then submitting it online till midnight to our Strategic partner Eximious Health in Bangalore, where data scientists are working day and night to make reports.