Written by: Sierra Goerg
A cancer diagnosis often leads to a scary and confusing time for patients and their caregivers, especially when they live in a community with restricted resources. Yunus&Youth fellow, Lourdes Soares, lives in the small beach town of Goa, India, and witnessed the stressful and fragmented system of cancer care in India.
After her mom was diagnosed with cancer, Lourdes witnessed and experienced the inner workings of India’s cancer care programs, “the main issue was the fact that this whole journey is highly fragmented,” she explains. Although good cancer treatment is available in India, patients and their caregivers may lack the ability or knowledge to access these centers. Lourdes and four of her friends, each of whom has a connection with cancer, came to the consensus that something must be done. So they created the Sabrcare Trust. Sabrcare is free assistance offered to cancer patients in the form of information support, emotional support, and medico-practical advice. It acts as a patient navigator guiding them throughout their health journey, from diagnosis to treatment to recovery.
Lourdes interviewed around 200 patients to understand how they went from point A to point B in their cancer journey. In the end, she came up with about 15 different ways how Sabrcare can simplify and assist their issues. Many families need to travel out of state for care, and oftentimes the journey to these centers can be overwhelming. Most times, this would be the family’s first trip. Some families abandon treatment at this stage due to their inability to cope with expenses.
“For people who cannot afford treatment, public health care can be intimidating, especially due to the large numbers that come into these centers. The experience is overwhelming and frightening,” she adds. Currently, Sabrcare helps patients with information support, diagnostic and treatment support, emotional support, financial assistance, travel and living support, and medico-practical advice.
At this time, Sabrcare is focused on helping children affected by cancer, their parents, caregivers, and associated communities. “It is the kids that suffered the most in this fragmented journey,” Lourdes explains. “Because not only do they miss out on good treatments, they also miss out on a childhood.”
With help from Yunus&Youth, Lourdes and her team are working to develop an app so more patients can reach their services. “With this digitized system, we can reach out to pretty much double the number of people in a shorter amount of time.”
In India, Sabrcare Trust made it to Google’s list of top 50 non-profits in India, and the team recently attended the Google- Tech4Good 2019 Summit workshop hosted by Google India in Bangalore.
For more information about Sabrcare, please visit www.sabrcaretrust.com and @sabrcaretrust on social media.