Our social security system is very weak over a large section of the population, which is not capable of affording treatment of a costly disease like cancer excluded from the welfare schemes of the State and the Central Government. These include the lower middle class and middle class section of the society Insurance coverage in India is stillvery low. To make the things worse, less than 20% of all Indians are covered under a health insurance. In rural India, 86% of the population is not insured, and 82% of the urban population remains uninsured. With average insurance coverage/ person at Rs 2.5 lacs, a large majority of those who have taken health insurance are under-insured. To make the matters worse, most NGOs also exclude this section of the society from their welfare programs. This leaves a large section of Indians highly vulnerable to acute financial stress when confronted with an expensive treatment of a disease like cancer.Our program is aimed to provide support to such patients during the treatment phase and help them reduce the cost of their treatment.
The treatment of cancer is expensive and a support program would inadvertently involve huge cash outflow. To ensure scaling up, it was imperative to design programs in such a way to ensure high impact with minimum fund requirements. Therefore we decided to focus on ways to help patients reducing their overall cost of treatment first and then work out other financial subsidies.
The various programs under support are as follows-
- Free prosthetic bra distribution program- Under this program WOC distributes its patented, medically approved low-cost prosthetic bra to breast cancer survivor ladies who have undergone mastectomy for free. For this, OPDs are being organized at AIIMS, New Delhi twice a week and at CMC Vellore once a month. Patients referred by 22 other hospitals are distributed these bras via couriers.
- Free second Opinion Portal- We all know that cancer treatment centers in India are skewed to appx 125 cities. This results in late detection, high cost of migration, patients falling prey to underqualified doctors and quacks etc. Under this program we connect patients in the rural and sub-rural areas with limited access to doctors and expert opinion with specialists in metros, giving them a chance to seek inputs, opinions and suggestions on their cancer and its treatment.
- Subsidized medicine- Helping cancer patients procure medicines at a discounted rate. The retail margin on Oncology medicine generally ranges from 30-80%. Generally, these medicines are not available over the counter at chemist shops and have to be bought specifically from the hospitals. To ease this problem, WOC has created a network of distributors across different states in India and through this program we directly connect these patients to the distributors. This way they are able toprocure medicines at wholesale prices and save up-to 50% on the retail price of the medicine.
- Patient support- In select cases we provide treatment support to patients being treated at our partner hospitals. Under the arrangement, the partner hospital selects the beneficiary on merit.
The hospital provides a discount on hospitalization charges andwaives OPD/ IPD consultation charges. Cost of medicines and investigations are funded jointly by the patient and WOC
More than 2000 patients have benefitted through our Prosthetic bra distribution program since its 2 years of operation and more than 28 patients have received financial support over the past 4 years.