Cancer was and still remains one of the leading causes of mortality in the world. The debilitating disease spares no-one and affects all age groups. It is the prime cause of death among children today. The figures are heartbreaking. In 2020 alone, 2,62281 children (0-14 years) were diagnosed with cancer globally and Africa and Asia contribute to about 45 per cent of all cases. What is even more disturbing is that only 15-45 per cent of diagnosed children in middle to low-income countries actually receive treatment and survive.
India accounts for over 25 per cent of childhood cancer in the world and less than 34 per cent of these kids make it to a cancer center and receive proper treatment. Even if the number of admissions in the top centers are included, this comes up to a paltry 13-15 per cent. Owing to this disparity in Access2Care ratio, survival rates are very slim; less than 20 per cent.
Determined to reverse this disheartening trend, Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL), the engineering and manufacturing wing of the largest power generation equipment in India, has teamed up with the National Society for Childhood Cancer CanKids Kidscan to improve medical access for children suffering from cancer. The partnership will see the two organizations work in 117 Aspirational Districts across India under the Aspirational District Project 2018 launched by the government.
The goal is to achieve at least 60 per cent survival rate among children diagnosed with cancer by 2030. This would require an Access2Care ratio of 100 per cent which will be not easy to pull off. Nevertheless, BHEL and CanKids have the resources to make this distant dream a reality. The 117 Aspirational Districts come under CanKids 15 Change for Childhood Cancer In India State Projects. The project works with all stakeholders including the state governments to ensure that families receive the proper care and access to timely medical interventions to boost survival chances.
Accordingly, BHEL will direct its CSR funds towards this project by CanKids across 117 Aspirational Districts. The funds will be used to address operational challenges like poor infrastructure, non-existent support services, medical teams and the like. Commenting on the partnership, Dr. Nalin Shinghal, CMD, BHEL, said, “CanKids is doing yeoman service for cancer-afflicted children, encompassing the entire spectrum of Childhood Cancer Care. Together with them, we hope this Access2Care for childhood cancer ADP project will emerge as a best practice patient-centered healthcare success story from these 117 districts.