Mavericks’ cancer medical mission-2018

AZM Saif | Published: October 19, 2018 19:58:49

"We cannot direct the wind but we can adjust the sails." - with this in mind Mavericks started its cancer mission in Bangladesh. Here a good number of people suffers from cancer. Lack of proper treatment, poverty, no regular consultation with the doctor, and lack of proper treatment are common for the cancer patients. A massive intervention of Government is required for controlling this life threatening disease. Cancer will be an important cause of mortality in Bangladesh in the coming days. The estimated incidence of 12.7 million new cancer cases will rise to 21.4 million by 2030.  The International Agency for Research on Cancer has estimated that cancer-related death rates in Bangladesh hit 7.5 per cent in 2005 and would be 13 per cent in 2030. The two leading causes are: males suffer from lung and oral cancer and females breast cancer and cervical cancer (both are preventable and if detected early curable).

A large number of deaths are occurring amongst the younger population. The NICRH and BSMMU cancer registry data revealed that 66 per cent of the cancer cases occur in the age group between 30-65 years. One-fourth of the cancer cases are diagnosed in a localised stage. The majority of the cases are diagnosed when the disease is regional (second or third stage of cancer) and 15 per cent of the cases are at the last stage. Bangladesh is now in acute shortage of radiation therapy machines, hospital bed, trained oncologists, medical radiation physicists and technologists.

The Rotary Club of Dhaka Mavericks firmly believes in sustainable solution for a problem. Mavericks believe that through skill transfer and vocational training Bangladeshi health professionals can provide state- of- the-art treatment facilities to the sufferers. The partnership with the 'Partners for World Health' (PWH) is to train the professionals in action focusing on radiation oncology, medical oncology, surgical oncology, nursing services and other aspects of cancer treatment. The team also believes that early detection is best when supported by a strong network cancer pathway, such as every patient has access to the right intervention in a convenient and affordable manner. Hence the mission is taking measures for community-based screening and self breast examination training sessions. Elizabeth A. McLellan, the founder and CEO of Partners for World Health, says that this disease needs extra care.  It has been mentioned that the people of Bangladesh are suffering from mainly lungs cancer and women suffer from breast and cervical cancer. The reasons behind these are virus and bacteria-related diseases, obesity, long term sickness, and tobacco smoking. Along with this, formalin and use of chemicals in dry food are also the reasons. Previously, the PWH used to conduct medical missions through a local NGO, however, after getting in touch with the Rotary Platform they realised that the network of Rotary covers all administrative districts of Bangladesh and creates an excellent opportunity to reach out to people in every nook and corner. The fact that all Rotarians are volunteers, ensures that there are no administrative cost and all raised funds actually go to the people in need. Elizabeth A McLellan also told that not only the doctors, the nurse also play a vital role in the treatment process. That's why they also need proper training. Along with the treatment, they can provide mental support to their patients. The nurses also participated in the training programme. They said they can learn many important aspects of cancer from the seminar that will be helpful for cancer patients. The surgeon will do surgery free of cost that would be a practical training for local surgeons. Besides, this certificates will be provided to the nurses for training of chemotherapy and radiotherapy. This is going to be her 12th visit in Bangladesh.

 Dr. Arul Mahadevan who participated in the mission is a radiation oncologist in Dover, New Hampshire and is affiliated with multiple hospitals in the area, including Beverly Hospital and Concord Hospital. He received his medical degree from Kilpauk Medical College and has been in practice for more than 20 years. He is one of 12 doctors at Beverly Hospital and one of six at Concord Hospital who specialise in Radiation Oncology. This is Arul's third medical mission in Bangladesh.  Suzanne Hoekstra is a surgeon in Portland, Maine and is affiliated with Mercy Hospital of Portland. She received her medical degree from Southern Illinois University School of Medicine and has been in practice for more than 20 years. Dr. Hoekstra is one of four doctors at Mercy Hospital of Portland who specialise in general cancer surgery. This is going to be Suzanne's fourth medical mission in Bangladesh.  Juliette M. Cohen, founder of Above and Beyond Health Care, is going to participate in the second Medical Mission in Bangladesh. For Peter A. Cataldo, M.D, Surgical Oncologist (GI), Professor of Surgery and Professorship of Colon and Rectal Surgery, University of Vermont Medical Centre, Vermont, USA, will be here for the first Medical Mission in Bangladesh. A medical student, Collen Cataldo is also visiting Bangladesh for the first time.

 Till date the PWH and Mavericks' partnership has done two medical mission with activities like 25 surgeons received hands-on training mastectomy, 50 doctors got hands-on training on medical oncology, 50 doctors got hands-on training on radiation oncology, 35 nurses got certificate training on US standard Chemo Administration, 300 Nurses got hands-on training in October 2017. It also covers Wound Care, Patient Turning and Bedside Management, Counselling Services, Self-Breast Examination, Infection Control and Waste Management, Management of Patients with Radio Therapy, Management of Patients with Chemo Therapy. In March 2018 it covers Tangail Medical College and Hospital, Tangail and trained 200+ nursing students, did on-the-job vocational practicum with 50 nurses and 17 complicated and skills transfer surgeries. More importantly it covers Kandapara Brothel, Tangail and provided primary care to 200+ sex workers, 50+ children living in the brothel, sexual and reproductive screening and education to 100+ sex workers, counselling for reintegration into society. The mission trained 400+ nursing students, did on-the-job vocational practicum with 100 nurses and conducted 15 complicated and skills transfer surgeries at TMSS Medical College and Hospital. 

The service also includes Dhaka Medical College and Hospital to provide on-the-job vocational practicum with 100 nurses on spinal injury patients and caregivers of all admitted patients trained on how to take care of bed-ridden patients. As far as radiation oncology is concerned it renders services like radiation therapy, holds vocational sessions among 30 participants from six tertiary Onco-specialised institution, ensures the process to set up Radiation Therapy Patients Database 

At six tertiary specialised institutions (BSMMU, Dhaka Medical College, Square Hospital, Delta Medical, Ahsania Mission Cancer Hospital, TMSS Medical College and Hospital) at MH Samorita Hospital and Medical College, the mission trained 100+ nursing students, provided on-the-job vocational practicum with 50 nurses and conducted three complicated and skills transfer surgeries. 

This month the mission is  covering four days of surgery for breast cancer patients, four days of surgery on GI cancer patients, six days of on-the-job didactic sessions on radiation oncology, two days of on-the-job didactic sessions on GI oncology, two days of on-the-job didactic sessions on breast oncology, one day of intensive didactic session on breast cancer, self-breast examination, four days of on-the-job didactic session on onco-nursing, two days of clinical session with nurses on wound care, patient turning and bedside management, counselling services, self-breast examination, infection control and waste management, management of patients with radio therapy, management of patients with chemo therapy at NICRH.

Let this medical mission be a pathfinder for others in such endeavours.

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