This Breast Cancer Awareness month, YouWeCan Foundation joined hands with SBI Foundation in partnership with the Government of Goa to launch ‘Swasth Mahila, Swasth Goa’ breast cancer screening initiative. The initiate aims at screening 1 lakh women in Goa over a period of two years, using UE Life Science’s groundbreaking iBreast devices. Breast Cancer is the most common form of cancer in India, with 1 in 8 women contracting the disease and 1,62,000 new cases every year. Moreover, 70% patients get diagnosed in advanced stages due to lack of screening. Funded by the Indian Institute of Banking & Finance and with SBI Foundation as the project partner and UE Life Sciences as the technology partner, ‘Swasth Mahila, Swasth Goa’ is an initiative by YouWeCan Foundation to provide a technology intervention in the form of iBreast devices as well as training and capacity building support to the Government of Goa to screen 1 lakh women for breast cancer in the State over a period of two years to ensure early detection and timely treatment of breast cancer. Moreover, free treatment will be provided for all positive cases with the support of the Government of Goa.
Under this initiative, breast cancer screening will be conducted at 35 Health Centres across Goa along with multiple outreach camps. 20 iBreast devices will be deployed for the project – 10 in North Goa and 10 in South Goa. All the suspected cases will be referred to the Goa Medical College & Hospital and district hospitals for further investigations as well as complete treatment.
Moreover, YouWeCan Foundation’s project team will facilitate training and capacity building of the Government’s health workers and auxiliary nurse midwives to screen for breast cancer using iBreast device. Training will also be conducted for Counsellors and IEC officers on how to counsel the suspected cases.
The Swasth Mahila Swasth Goa Initiative was launched at Goa Medical College & Hospital by Shri. Vishwajit P. Rane, Hon’ble Minister of Health, Women & Child Development, Skill Development & Entrepreneurship, and Industries, Trade & Commerce, Government of Goa.
At the event Mr. Rane said, “This initiative is something I have been pushing for a very long time. During one of my visits to New York, I met Mr Mihir Shah, Founder of UE Life Sciences, and we had a very long chat on taking forward this initiative with this support. I thank the YouWeCan foundation and SBI Foundation for putting this initiative for us where we will be screening 1,00,000 women for breast cancer. Initially, we had aimed to screen 20,000 women, but it sounded unacceptable to me as it will hardly have any impact.” Further adding to this address, he recalled his efforts during his earlier tenure as Health Minister where they launched Mini vans to screen women for breast cancer. Also appreciated the ground level efforts of the CDPOs in sensitizing all the women of the state on crucial issues. He further added, “Our aim is to train all the ANMs & Anganwadi workers to reach out to all the villages and screen women for Breast cancer so that we are able to save lives and they do not have to go through the trauma of surgery and other things.”
Other key dignitaries who inaugurated Swasth Mahila Swasth Goa — included Smt. Shabnam Singh, Chairperson, YouWeCan Foundation; Smt. Manjula Kalyanasundaram, Managing Director, SBI Foundation; Shri. Aman Bhaiya, Assistant Vice President & Program Head, SBI Foundation; Dr. Ira Almeida, Director Health Services, Govt. of Goa; Prof. Dr. S. M. Bandekar, Dean, Goa Medical College & Hospital; Shri. Sudhir M Galande, Deputy CEO, Indian Institute of Banking & Finance; and Shri Bhaumik Sanghvi, Co-Founder & COO, UE Life Sciences.
During her address on this occasion, Smt. Manjula Kalyanasundaram stated, “While raising awareness to prevent, detect early and routinely screen this largely preventable disease is crucial, it is equally imperative for us to fund research and help patients understand their treatment options. I am hoping that SBI Foundation and Yuvraj Singh Foundation’s support to this initiative will urge more and more women to take care of their health and at the same time, strengthen the Government of Goa’s response in saving lives of women from metastatic breast cancer. I also want to take this opportunity to acknowledge the support of the Indian Institute of Banking & Finance for funding the project and all the resilient families who battle this terrible disease along with their brave loved ones.”
Shri Bhaumik Sanghvi shared his appreciation for this collaborative initiative, and provided insight on iBreast Exam. He said, “We are delighted to collaborate with YouWeCan Foundation, SBI Foundation and Government of Goa to implement our shared vision to improve breast cancer outcomes by early detection for the women of Goa. iBreast Exam, our breakthrough technology, enables Government of Goa to deliver quick, painless and point-of-care check-up for early detection of breast lumps.” Over 450,000 women across ten countries have received the breast health check using iBreastExam. It has received numerous recognitions, including Innovative Health Technology from the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2018 and Pfizer Foundation Global Health IG Award 2018, to name a few. Now, the breakthrough technology that will enable the Swasth Mahila Swasth Goa Initiative; a huge step towards cancer awareness and early detection in India.
Yuvraj Singh said, “Having fought through cancer myself, I firmly believe that this disease can be cured if it is detected early and given the correct treatment. And this is our mission with the Swasth Mahila, Swasth Goa initiative. Women are the backbone of our society and we are committed to making every effort for their health and wellbeing,” says Yuvraj Singh. Thanking the project partners and the Government of Goa, he adds, “Your vision for using technology innovations for the greater good of society has made this project possible.”