Home Away from Home for Children undergoing Treatment for Pediatric Cancer
By 2024, it is estimated that six states would account for over 50% of pediatric cases in India. The estimate further states that over 32,000 patients will require support in the form of safe hygienic living conditions during treatment.
With the growing demands, there will be a significant need for organizations like St. Judes, that offer a ‘home away from home’ (HAH) service to the increasing patient pool and reduce drop-offs due to unavailability of proper shelter.
St. Judes plans to have a capacity of around 1,000 units across India by 2025 and will continue to grow with the rising demand for cancer support.
However, the challenge is too big to be solved by a single organization. In order to meet our mission and to ensure that ‘no child undergoing cancer treatment would be denied a safe hygienic place to stay’, we have launched an initiative to nurture and support likeminded NGOs and individuals who share our passion to support children undergoing cancer treatment.
Through this programme, St. Judes proposes to make our expertise and learnings available to these individuals / NGOs through a structured training programme. All the SOPs and manuals that we have developed on every aspect of our operations will be shared to create a high-quality network of HAH facilities across India.
St. Judes will further support these NGOs in setting up HAH facilities especially in cities which are underserved and require such facilities.
Also, during 2020 we started online training sessions for such NGOs, and have invited the participants to Mumbai to be part of an on-the-job training module.
It makes us proud to share that some of our current donors have evinced interest in supporting this initiative by covering initial
set-up and operational expenses for these new centres.
In November 2019, St. Judes signed an MoU with Tata Memorial Hospital (TMH) to set up a 12-storey building to house 222 families at The Advanced Centre for Treatment, Research and Education in Cancer (ACTREC) campus at Kharghar, Navi Mumbai. Over the 20-year period of the MoU, the facility aims to support over 34,000 beneficiaries with shelter, nutrition, counselling and transport facilities.
The project was expected to get off the ground in March 2020, once our partners, ACTREC, obtained the requisite clearances for the project. Unfortunately, Covid-19 has severely impacted the timeline. The pandemic and the resultant lockdowns meant that several government departments were functioning at minimal capacity.
Our project was also affected by the partial shutdown at CIDCO, where the local authority was in charge of building approvals for our project. After the easing of the lockdown in mid-2020, we were making rapid progress on the approval process. However, the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic that hit Maharashtra from March to May 2021 delayed some approvals. Currently, CIDCO has found our application and documents to be in order and has advised us to proceed to the next stage of approvals. We will now seek approval from the Environmental Clearance Committee constituted by the Government of Maharashtra for which we have appointed a Project Management Agency that will manage the whole project including site supervision and project Coordination. We expect the construction to be completed by 2023.
We thank our donors and partners for their kind understanding and accommodation of the delay. The senior leadership at Tata Memorial Centre and ACTREC have been extremely supportive of the project despite the severe impact of Covid-19 at the hospitals. They have been instrumental in facilitating the necessary approvals from relevant authorities. Under the leadership of CEO N. Srinivasan, the Larsen & Toubro Project team continues to guide us, and we are confident of executing the project efficiently with their support.
Dr Badwe, Director – TMC and Dr Gupta, Director – ACTREC, have expressed their strong support for the project.
“We will definitely need St. Judes to be there with TMH complementing, understanding each other’s needs and modifying each other’s actions so that the focus always remains the patient.”
– Dr R. A. Badwe,
Director, Tata Memorial Centre
“More recently we are collaborating with them and creating a new big St. Judes centre within ACTREC. something that I am looking forward to, the St. Judes centre that will serve the TMC and pull the patients from our country for many decades to come.”
– Dr Sudeep Gupta, Director, ACTREC