On 4th February 2019 - the World Cancer Day - the students of Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences, Sevagram led a cancer awareness campaign at Rotha – a village approximately 16 Km form Sevagram. Residents, interns, undergraduate students, social workers along with the adolescent girls of the Kishori Panchayat, women from the Mahila Bachat Gat and the elderly women from Gram Panchayat assembled together to commemorate the day.
The students, who also make a part of SNO (Student Network Organization, Maharashtra), believe in empowering the community with powerful skills rather than just creating the awareness among them. On the World Cancer Day, these students therefore led the campaign against the two of the most common cancers in the state - Breast and Oral.
“Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the world and is responsible for an estimated 9.6 million deaths in 2018”, said one of the students to mark the beginning of the campaign. After a little rapport building in a closed room setup, a pre-test questionnaire was filled up with the help of google forms to assess the existing knowledge of breast cancer and breast self-examination in the village women. With the help of posters and a working model, the women were taught the procedure of breast self-examination, Questions like - what is the correct age to begin the examination, timeline along which it should be done amongst several other related concerns were discussed. The importance of the technique in the early detection for a better prognosis was emphasized upon. After the demonstration, a post-test questionnaire was filled up. A large proportion of women were seen to have effectively followed the information given.
Later, the issue of oral cancer due to tobacco consumption was also focused upon. The undergraduate students gave an awareness talk on the topic and motivated the villagers to give up eschewing tobacco and smoking .
The students received good response by the community in terms of their involvement, understanding of the campaign and their willingness to change. “We look forward to create a long lasting impact in the lives of people by such campaigns. We aim to continue the campaigns in other villages as well”, informed Ms Shreya Namjoshi.
The campaign by MGIMS has been featured on www.worldcancerday.org on their Map of Impact. Dr. Shiv Joshi, Dr. Akshay Yadav, Shreya Namjoshi, Darshita Pandey, Sneha Vaidya, Mimansa Dixit, Riddhi Patel, Ajay Kedar, Saahil Manna L Nongrum, Aakanksha Shukla, Mehul Dhabaliya, Kaushal Bhombhe, Gayatri Lele, Aditi Roy participarted in the campaign.