New Delhi: On the occasion of World Cancer Day, kids suffering from cancer and their parents from across India are writing letters to the PM and urging for a National plan and policy for childhood cancer in India. For a country like India that accounts for more than 25% of the world’s childhood cancer where over 250 centres treat kids with cancer, we have Poor access to care Less than 30% make it to a cancer centre; the top 10 centres see no more than 13-15% of children and survival rates vary from 10 – 80% across hospitals. (Data collected from Cankids Research Department headed by Dr. Ramandeep Arora, Pediatric Oncologist, Max Hospitals& Secretary, India Pediatric Oncology Group (INPOG)
Such stats are enough to signal red alarm in India and looking at this serious matter, for the last 4 years, Childhood Cancer Survivors of KidscanKonnect: The teenage and young adult survivor group of Cankids (The National Society for Change for Childhood Cancer in India, a National NGO working across the entire spectrum of Childhood Cancer) have collected 300,000 pledges– ‘one for each child who has childhood cancer somewhere in the world each year’.
Pledges have been collected online and through pledge books and pledge sheets from patient beneficiaries – parents and survivors, health care professionals- doctors, nurses, and workers, hospital administrations, Govt officials, politicians, celebrities, donors, NGOs, schools, colleges, media, and civil society – that’s 300,000 people from all over India and overseas who have signed up and want childhood cancer to be a child & health priority in India.
The young cancer survivor group have been leading “Haqkibaat campaign” and asking their Mann Ki Baat to PM for a National Plan for Childhood cancer. A cancer awareness rally will leave for PMO on 15th Feb, International Childhood Cancer Day from AIIMS to Lok Kalyan Marg.
Two cancer survivors from Uttar Pradesh Sandip Yadav (sarcoma survivor) and Vikas Yadav (Eye cancer survivor) made a video of how they won the fight against the deadly disease. “Our families had to uproot themselves and move to Mumbai for treatment. Why should where we are born decide whether we survive or not?”
A blood cancer survivor from Delhi and a Campaign Leader, Chandan Kumar said “If the developed world knows so much about how to cure and care for Childhood cancer then why should we be denied because we live in India.”
Chairman of Cankids organization Ms. Poonam Bagai said “WHO Global Initiative for Childhood Cancer (GICC) has set a target of 60% of Survival for Children with Cancer in Low Middle-Income Country like ours and to reduce the suffering for all Children with Cancer by 2030. In the High-Income countries 80% of Children with Cancer will Survive but in the Low- and Middle-Income Countries, only 20% of Children will Survive. This data reflects that we are in a serious war in the fight against cancer – childhood cancer is the low hanging fruit and its high time to have a National Childhood Cancer Plan and Policy to make it a health priority of India.
WHY We need National Plan and Policy
1. Because India accounts for 26% of the new childhood cancer cases diagnosed worldwide each year. ( India 76,000 worldwide 3,00,000 )
2. Because deaths due to childhood cancer are an increasing proportion of childhood mortality (other than accidental death) even in Low Middle Income Countries (LMICs) like India
3. Because childhood cancer cure rates are actually 70 to 95%. High mortality rates in our country of 50 to 70% are unacceptable
4. Because not enough attention is given to awareness, detection, drug and treatment development of childhood cancer as compared to adult cancers.
5. Because children are our future. For every child that dies of cancer the world loses 71 years of life.
6. Because no family should go bankrupt, lose their assets, become impoverished or go deeper into poverty when a child gets sick with cancer.
7. Because access to better care, better pediatric cancer centers, pediatric oncologists and affordable good quality medication, healthcare coverage and complete support services can stop the children from dying
8. Because access to best possible treatment, care and support is their human right – not just a privilege
ABOUT CANKIDS KIDSCAN
CanKidsKidscan is a not-for-profit National Society dedicated to Change for Childhood Cancer in India. It is the only organization in India that works on all aspects that will drive this Change – from support services for families of children with cancer (age 0-19), to awareness, advocacy, stakeholder engagement, capacity building, quality care, research and impact. It works in partnership with centres treating children with cancer across the country, as well as with State Governments and all relevant stakeholders to improve Access to Care.