In the first-of-its-kind initiative, the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) on Sunday launched a programme to provide women's health care at people's doorstep.
The 'Asha Jyoti' women's health care outreach mobile programme was inaugurated on Sunday. Union minister of parliamentary affairs, science and technology and earth sciences Pawan Kumar Bansal flagged off the mobile van equipped with a microdose digital mammography unit for breast evaluation, a DEXA scan for evaluation of bone density and a digital video colposcope for evaluation of the cervix.
Dr YK Chawla, director, and Dr Amod Gupta, dean, PGI, were also present.
Asha Jyoti is a population-based screening programme of healthy women in the age group of 45-60 for detection of breast cancer, cervical cancer and osteoporosis.
The aim of this programme is to detect any of these three diseases before the individual has any signs or symptoms. The target population will include urban and semi-urban women; the facility will be extended to rural women in due course of time.
The institute will be open to send the van to any state of northern India and beyond. "This is the first van in the country, which offers all three services. Now in the pilot phase of this project, 500 women will be screened in six months, while in the regular operational phase, 2,000-3,000 women will be screened in a year.
This mobile outreach programme is proposed as a model for promoting preventive health care for women and providing doorstep screening for three diseases in a single visit," said Dr N Khandelwal, head, department of radiodiagnosis, PGI.
The project has been launched in collaboration between the PGI, and RAD-AID International, a non-profit organisation from the United States founded by a team of radiologists from Johns Hopkins Hospital, US, and supported by Philips Healthcare, US.
According to the PGI officials, need-based screening standards for breast and cervical cancer as well as osteoporosis in the northern part of India will be defined, which may aid in the formation of national policies for screening of these diseases.
"Initially, the screening programme will be carried out in sector 38, Indira Colony, colony No 5 and rural areas of Chandigarh and Punjab. The project is likely to be extended to other urban-rural areas as a part of community-based radiology services," said Dr Khandelwal.
The various departments of the PGI involved in this collaborative effort include the department of radio diagnosis as project manager and departments of community medicine, orthopaedics, general surgery, obstetrics and gynaecology, cytology, histopathology and radiotherapy.