Care Child Cancer (CCC): This programme was initiated by CEDSE ® in the year 2013 as a component of its healing mission. The aim was to save the precious lives of children from cancer – one of the more debilitating diseases which continues to take a heavy toll on human (children and adults) lives. The excruciating pain borne by the affected child denies her/him all that a joyful childhood implies inclusive of mixing, playing and learning with peers. It is distressing for the parents to hear that their child has cancer. There is a further hardship for those families with limited means as their financial/loan burden keeps on rising even after using the government schemes due to long periods of treatment and follow up their child has to undergo.
The fact is that ‘Child can Survive Cancer’ and better said ‘Child can conquer cancer’ if the child gets timely and sustained quality health care and a conducive climate of love, nourishment, and support essential for her/his wellbeing and growth. Further to address the complex issue of cancer – the focus has to be on all three dimensions of well-being- curative, preventive and health promotional so that the seeds of cancer could be nipped in the bud to the maximum extent possible.
Our work: Cancer affected children belonging to the economically marginalized sections are referred to us for care and assistance by three major hospitals in Mangaluru namely, District Wenlock, Kasturba Medical College, Attavar and Father Muller Medical College with whom we have memoranda of understanding. Currently, more than 100 children are under our care for long-term support and also an equal number are provided counselling and emotional support to withstand the situation of crisis.
Our activities include regular visits to the hospital and maintaining contact with affected children, providing financial support when essential, psychological guidance, arranging medicines at reduced cost, mobilizing donors for the supply of fresh blood and seeking funds through social media channels towards direct remittance to patients in specific cases. Our personnel also engage in spreading awareness about childhood cancers (types, early symptoms and treatment options available) and undertaking health promotional activities to prevent the disease.
The outcome of the programme: After 5 years of collaborative efforts, this intervention has been found to be very effective in helping the patients to comply with the prescribed treatment regimen, leading to a continuance of treatment in almost all cases of children who are regularly followed up by us. There is an increase in the rate of survival among the children covered by us – which is 72 percent at present – in other words, the mortality rate is reduced to less than 30 percent – an excellent outcome according to the doctors who treat the children. A sense of hope in the place of anxiety and helplessness among the parents are notable among the other positive outcomes. Bringing back the smile on the faces of children and their parents in many cases has been our biggest reward.
The cost incurred towards investigative procedures, medicines for affected children, T.A, D.A for their parents, counselling service, awareness programmes regarding early symptoms of cancer inclusive of disease prevention has increased from year to year during the last 5 years. There are more and more children from below poverty line and some even from above poverty line households who require/seek our support. We are planning to supply nutritious food packets to children to enable them to build their immunity to fight cancer more effectively.