Amritsar , January 5, 2013 – Philips, PGIMER and RAD-AID came together to address several unmet healthcare needs in India and consequently the Asha Jyoti programme was developed. During its six-month pilot phase, the program has already successfully achieved its goal to provide breast cancer, cervical cancer, and osteoporosis screening to more than 500 rural women. Nearly 50% of the women seen were from the socio-economic groups living in households that earn less than Rs 1350/month. The mobile unit provided an opportunity for free health screening at their doorstep.
Dr. N Kandelwal, professor of radiodiagnosis said that, Asha Jyoti(meaning “Light of Hope”), 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 free health screening program for women aged between 40 and 60 years, which aims to ensure early detection of breast cancer, cervical cancer and osteoporosis, even before the individuals have 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. Sevenwomen with suspicious mammography findings and 41 women with suspicious colposcopy findings received free follow-up testing and treatment at PGIMER hospital.
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 sector-45 of Chandigarh, has and was also extended to two additional areas in Punjab including medical mega-camp at Badal village.
Krishna Kumar, President, Philips Healthcare, India and the subcontinent added, “Asha Jyoti is an innovative way of delivering sustainable health care to the 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.”