In June 2017, Apollo ARI and MobileODT hosted their first community screening camp in Aragonda, a rural village in Tamil Nadu. The women learned of the health camp from community health workers, who engaged families in conversations on reproductive health, how to prevent cervical cancer, and who might be at risk.
Chaitra** learned about her risk of developing cervical cancer recently. While Chaitra was diligent about family planning, and sanitation, health care providers never mentioned the importance of screening on an ongoing basis. At a recent screening camp, hosted by Apollo Hospitals, who are using MobileODT’s EVA System, she received screening for cervical cancer for the first time.
Chaitra is not alone. 453 million women are at risk of developing cervical cancer in India. Despite this, only 3.1% of women in India are screened. And sadly, India is home to 1/3 of all deaths from cervical cancer around the world.
The pilot’s lead investigator, Dr. Malika Samuel, commented, “For women in rural India, who may not have completed school, who may not even be literate, seeing is believing. When they understand visually that there may be a problem when they see their own cervix, and treatment needed, the patient is more diligent about raising the funds she needs for treatment, and coming back for re-screening next year.”
The outreach is part of Apollo’s “Total Health Programme,” India’s first integrated rural healthcare service delivery network. Because being healthy requires many factors, community engagement and outreach services focus on nutrition, sanitation, education, reliable livelihood and income, infrastructure, clean water, and much more. Cervical cancer screening is just a part of the equation to ensure women are living happy, healthy lives, where they are empowered to know and make decisions for their own care. Simply put, Apollo is leading the way in India to deploy a community approach to improving health behaviours and outcomes, and increasing empowerment.
Together, With the EVA System, we are drastically expanding access to high quality screening, and ensuring no patient leaves the clinic, needing to continue to manage painful, uncomfortable, or life threatening conditions. To date, Apollo ARI and MobileODT have screened more than 500 women across South India, resulting in numerous cases of precancer, caught at an early stage, and saving countless lives.
**Name changed for patient privacy.