Huge Success of Unique Health Initiative Leads to Long-Term Commitment by PGIMER, RAD-AID And Philips to Provide Education and Screening to Poor Women in India
Following six-month pilot phase, Asha Jyoti mobile outreach program now becomes fully operational in both semi-urban and rural areas of northern India
Baltimore, U.S.A. - At a keynote presentation during the RAD-AID conference on International Radiology for Developing Countries at the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, PGIMER1, RAD-AID and Royal Philips Electronics announced the results of a six-month pilot phase of the Asha Jyoti program. The program, which was developed to address several unmet healthcare needs in India, has already successfully achieved its goal to provide breast cancer, cervical cancer, and osteoporosis screening to more than 500 women in its initial pilot phase. Nearly 50% of the women seen were from the poorest socio-economic groups in India, living in households that earn less than $1/day, and the mobile unit provided an opportunity for free health screening on their doorstep.
Asha Jyoti (meaning “Light of Hope” in Hindi and Punjabi), is a Women’s Healthcare Outreach Mobile program which was launched on 22 April 2012 at the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh. It is a population-based screening program of women aged between 40 and 60 years, which aims to ensure early detection of breast cancer, cervical cancer and osteoporosis, even before the individual has any signs or symptoms. It was established as a model for preventive healthcare for semi-urban and rural areas in northern India and involved the creation of a special mobile outreach van with imaging technology and clinical referral services to efficiently and effectively address multiple care needs. All women who visited the van received results from their tests within 7 to 10 days. Seven women with suspicious mammography findings and 41 women with suspicious colposcopy findings received follow-up testing and treatment, if needed, at PGIMER hospital.
“Our vision for Asha Jyoti was to develop a high quality, mobile screening facility to provide decentralized primary healthcare on people’s doorsteps, to detect three major diseases effecting women’s health earlier, and to provide diagnostic follow-up and therapy to the community;” commented Dr. N. Khandelwal, Professor and Head, Department of Radiodiagnosis, PGIMER. “A multidisciplinary team of health care specialists from our Institute, one of the premier institutions in India, formulated this program, and the teams from Philips Healthcare and RAD-AID supported the initiative to make it a reality and ensure that we reached the underserved population in the northern part of India.”
During the 6 month pilot phase, 615 women participated in the screening, and now that the program is going into full “operational phase” the aim is to screen 2,000-3,000 women every year for at least the next 4-5 years and provide a clear plan for follow-up and further routine screening. The target population is women living in semi-urban and rural areas, and Asha Jyoti has already extended beyond the original remit to reach women across the state: Screening was originally conducted in one sector of Chandigarh, but has also extended to two additional areas in Punjab.
“Together with our clinical partner PGIMER and with Philips Healthcare, we have been able to provide a solution that has delivered some really impressive results and we are extremely proud of the impact that the Asha Jyoti project is having on the lives of some of India’s poorest women,” stated Daniel Mollura, M.D., Founder, President and Chief Executive Officer, RAD-AID. “As a result of the successes to date, we are happy to say that the program will continue and we hope that it will be successful for many years to come.”
Diego Olego, Chief Strategy and Innovation Officer, Philips Healthcare added, “Asha Jyoti is an innovative way of delivering sustainable health care to the most needy women, by bringing state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment, high quality clinical care and education to rural and semi-urban areas. This initiative is one more example of how Philips creates the future of healthcare and enables clinical partners to save lives.”
In addition to being a model for integrating women’s health services, the collaboration is a unique public-private partnership between government (PGIMER) entities, non-profit non-governmental organization (RAD-AID) and the private sector (Philips Healthcare). To make the Asha Jyoti program work, PGIMER delivers the clinical services, RAD-AID is providing educational training and program planning support to health workers and staff and Philips has donated all the equipment and also donated the entire van which was designed and built in India with local suppliers.
The commitment of the Asha Jyoti program was recently recognized in the “Champions of Action” plenary session at the Clinton Global Initiative 2012 Annual Meeting in New York. Presentation of the full results of the pilot phase was given at the RAD-AID Conference at Johns Hopkins Hospital on October 27 by Dr. Niranjan Khandelwal and Dr. Tulika Singh from PGIMER, and Dr. Kathryn Everton and Anna Starikovsky Nordvig from RAD-AID.
1. Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research
About Royal Philips Electronics
Royal Philips Electronics (NYSE: PHG, AEX: PHIA) is a diversified health and well-being company, focused on improving people’s lives through meaningful innovation in the areas of Healthcare, Consumer Lifestyle and Lighting. Headquartered in the Netherlands, Philips posted 2011 sales of EUR 22.6 billion and employs approximately 121,000 employees with sales and services in more than 100 countries. The company is a leader in cardiac care, acute care and home healthcare, energy efficient lighting solutions and new lighting applications, as well as male shaving and grooming, home and portable entertainment and oral healthcare. News from Philips is located at www.philips.com/newscenter.
RAD-AID International is a 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to improving and expanding radiology services in underserved areas globally. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that most of the world’s population has inadequate access to medical imaging (radiology), such as x-ray, ultrasound and mammography. This disparity has contributed to inadequate health care among poor populations, such as for women’s health (breast cancer screening and maternal infant health), HIV-related disease, tuberculosis, cancer, heart disease, and trauma, because these conditions often require radiology for diagnosis and care. To address this worldwide problem, RAD-AID uses a multidisciplinary approach involving economic development, health care system evaluation, technology innovation, clinical education, and technical training to improve global radiology for delivering vital health services.
About the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research
PGIMER in Chandigarh, India, was established as an institute of national importance by an Act of Parliament. Its mandate is to provide high quality patient care, meet the country’s need for highly qualified medical teachers in all medical and surgical disciplines, provide educational facilities for the training of personnel in all important branches of health activity, and undertake basic community-based research. The mission of PGIMER is embodied by its logo, which states “Service to the Community, Care of the Needy and Research for the Good of all”. For more information, visit www.pgimer.nic.in.
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