In a unique intervention, Assam Cancer Care Foundation (An initiative of Govt. of Assam & Tata Trusts) is starting a first of its kind the Community Outreach Programme (Screening and Awareness of common Non-communicable diseases) in the Amalgamated Plantations Tea Garden Estates of Dibrugarh District, Assam from Monday.
On Monday, the Community Outreach Programme (Screening and Awareness of common Non-communicable diseases) started in the Amalgamated Plantations Tea Garden Estate, Chubwa Hill Division at Chubwa Tea Estate Hospital.
People between the age group of 30- 65 years of age will be screened for hypertension, diabetes mellitus and commons cancer- oral, breast, and cervical. Through a series of planned interventions, all the 21 Amalgamated Plantations Tea Garden Estates of Assam will be covered in a phase wise manner,” said Dr. Bijan Das, District Health Manager (ACCF).
Dr Apurba Boraikia, Sub-Divisional Medical and Health Officer, Govt. of Assam was the Chief Guest of the inaugural ceremony. He inaugurated the screening camp and addressed the beneficiaries in the event and discussed on various non-communicable diseases and the risk factors and also advised the tea garden workers to take the maximum benefits of this free screening camp. Manoj Kurni, Deputy Manager of Amalgamated Plantations Tea Garden Estate also highlighted “Suspected Cases were referred to the Referral Hospital Research Centre who are in turn partners for further diagnostic and treatment purposes. The free ambulance services started by National Health Mission uniquely for suspected cases will be used to move the beneficiaries”.
Dr. P. Khaund, Chief Medical Officer cum Administrator of Referral Hospital and Research Centre (RHRC), Dr. A. Hussain, Senior Gynecologist (RHRC), Dinanath Gour and Priyakshi Sarma, Welfare Officers of Chubwa Tea Garden Estate, Amalgamated Plantations, Kaberi Borah, Welfare Officer of Nahartoli Tea Garden Estate, Amalgamated Plantations, Samiran Sarma, District Programme Coordinator (NCD), NHM, JotirmoyBarua, Block Programme Manager (NHM), Panitola Block and personals from Assam Cancer Care Foundation (ACCF), Dr Tanma Mahanta, In-Charge Palliative Care Unit(ACCF) of AMCH, Dr. Bijan Das, District Health Manager (ACCF) and clinical team of the screening camp were also present in the inaugural ceremony.
“Awareness, education and early screening can only minimize and prevent cancer cases from the society. Moreover sufficient (150 mins/week) physical activity and nutritional habits plays a great role in defeating NCDS.” Dr. P. Khaund said highlighting the dual problems of high rates and late detection of cancer cases in Assam. Dr Tanma I/C of palliative care unit of AMCH, Dibrugarh briefed the ACCF initiatives in preventing cancer care from the state and importance of palliative care to the attended participants.The awareness and screening programme started in the morning 9 o’clock and continued till 5 pm in the evening.
Total 60 beneficiaries were screened from the tea garden areas out of which 22 were male and 38 were female. During the first day itself, 4 suspected cases of oral cancer was found through the Oral Visual Examination, 2 Breast Cancer suspected cases found through Clinical Breast Examination and 20 hypertension and 14 diabetes mellitus cases by the dedicated and professional public health medical team of Assam Cancer Care Foundation. Suspected Cases were referred to the Referral Hospital Research Centre who are in turn partners for further diagnostic and treatment purposes with the free ambulance services.
“This is not a one-time activity. Today was only the first day of a programme which will continue in Chabuwa Tea Estate till every last tea garden worker above 30 years of age isn’t covered. We have systematically decided a quarter plans for covering 21 such Amalgamated Tea Garden Estates across the state of Assam. Our endeavour is to bring public health to the community recognising their restrictive schedules and making early detection the key principle for screenings” Kumar Gaurav, State Liaison Officer, Tata Trusts.
The effort is a unique endeavour of outreach and making preventive oncology accessible to the more marginalised sections of our society. Perhaps it is such exemplar joint coordinations and movements which can help us beat the non-communicable diseases from our society. The chronic diseases epidemic in people’s life through healthy practices like early detection of cases through accessible screening and appropriate treatment, better life style habits, and reducing the modifiable risk factors etc.
In India out of total number of new cancer cases 1,62,468 (14%) are breast cancer, 96,922 (8.4%) cases are cervix uteri, and 1,19,992 (10.4%) cases are lip, and oral cavity cancer as per the Globocan 2018 report. Apart from these 67,795 (5.9%) cases are lung cancer, 57,394 (5%) cases are stomach cancer and 6,52,723 (56.4%) new cases have been registered from other cancer diseases. In Assam every year more than 32,000 new cancer cases are reported out of which 70% cases reported are in their advance stage with high mortality rates averaging 40-50%. Tobacco usage particularly smokeless tobacco is responsible for 50% of all cancer cases and at 48.2% it’s prevalence is among the highest in Assam.