India has recorded the highest estimated number of cervical cancer deaths, where it is the second most common cause of cancer mortality. The high incidence and mortality rates indicate that ONE WOMAN DIES EVERY SEVEN MINUTES IN INDIA DUE TO CERVICAL CANCER.
The Socio-economic Impact
This situation is even more alarming in the rural areas and urban slums, where the majority of women are illiterate and ignorant about cervical cancer. In these areas, women are usually the sole caretaker of their family with men away most of the time in search of better work opportunities. Therefore, they play a central socio-economic role in these communities. Untimely demise of women due to cervical cancer wreaks havoc on their households with children dropping out of school to take care of their families, leading to perpetuation of illiteracy and poverty in these communities.
Cervical cancer screening coverage in India is appallingly low, especially in rural areas and urban slums. As a result, the diagnosis of cervical cancer is only after the onset of the symptoms wherein the cancer has already reached an advanced stage with very poor prognosis.
The Solution: Cervical Cancer Screening
Despite being one of the deadliest causes of cancer mortality, cervical cancer is one of the easiest detectable cancers. A simple DNA test can detect cervical cancer with superior sensitivity and specificity. Cervical cancer develops from a persistent infection with a high-risk type of human papillomavirus (HR-HPV). The HPV DNA test can detect the HR-HPV even 2 to 3 years before any visible cervical pathogenesis and has been recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) as an effective cervical cancer screening strategy.
Towards this end, we intend to leverage more than 25 years of experience in serving these rural communities that helped us forge a deep and strong bond with the community members. This is very essential to ensure participation of women in these screening camps. We have partnered with VivagenDX Labs, Chennai, who would be our scientific and technical collaborator in this project. VivagenDx Labs use deptech based genomic approaches to guide maternal healthcare decisions. We also intend to leverage our support base amongst government medical hospitals and public health institutions. We propose to conduct effective screening camps for HPV in these communities, which is the only way to combat this deadly disease.
The cost of a single HPV test that screens for both the high risk and low risk HPV DNA is INR 2500. This includes the cost of the cervical swab, transport medium, transport charges, follow-up Pap smear test, physician fees etc. This cost has been arrived at after averaging for at least 25 women per screening camp.
Our previous screening camps and health programs were completely funded through contributions from philanthropists like you. 90% of the donated amount would be utilized for the HPV DNA test and rest for administrative purposes.
OVER THE COURSE OF THE NEXT ONE YEAR, WE INTEND TO SCREEN AROUND 1000 WOMEN FROM RURAL, TRIBAL AND URBAN SLUM AREAS IN SOUTHERN INDIA FOR HPV.
WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT. THANKS!