New Delhi | A new campaign seeks to raise awareness about cancer in children and engage stakeholders to formulate friendlier policies to fight the disease.
The initiative ‘GO GOLD’ India campaign led by childhood cancer survivors under the city-based NGO Can Kids. Kids can will start off with the state of Uttar Pradesh, where they hope to adopt the ‘Gold Ribbon’ as the universal symbol of hope, health, awareness and solidarity with kids with cancer.
It is in line with a global initiative of the same name under which several iconic monuments and installations across the world went Gold as part of a programme to raise childhood cancer awareness.
Since September is the childhood cancer awareness month, the initiative which will kick start on the 1st of the month, will seek to make the Taj Mahal Go Gold.
A 5-day car rally to Agra via Noida, Lucknow, Allahabad and Kanpur will create community and grass root level awareness en route through state and national level media and publicity.
According to the NGO, even though India accounts for 20 per cent of the new childhood cancer cases diagnosed worldwide, not enough attention is given to awareness, detection, drugs and treatment development of childhood cancer as compared to adult cancer.
“The campaign hopes to ensure that childhood cancer becomes a child health priority in India and will engage all stakeholders including hospitals, nurses, parents, schools, colleges and the government,” says NGO Chairman Poonam Baig, who is herself a cancer survivor.
The initiative also aims to raise survival rates in India where only 40 per cent kids with cancer survive against the global average of 95 per cent.
Uttar Pradesh alone accounts for 8,000 to 10,000 new cases of childhood cancer each year, out which not more than 2,000 receive treatment.
“The campaign aims to advocate to policy makers that there should be fully equipped infrastructure, trained paediatric oncology staff, dedicated paediatric oncology centres and quality treatment and drugs,” says Baig.
“The state government was expanding cancer treatment facilities, including those for children, and in the coming times oncology facilities would improve further in Lucknow, Noida, Saifai and Gorakhpur,” says Anup Pandey, UP Principal Secretary (Medical Education).
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