Empowering and enabling communities to thrive with social Innovation
Social innovation is about leveraging the power of innovation, entrepreneurialism and creativity to create inclusive business models that empower communities to improve their lives and enhance social impact in a responsible manner.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in India, today. Latest estimates by the Indian Council of Medical Research by 2020, suggest that India would register about 17 lakh new cases of cancer and over 8 lakh deaths due to it.
For Neha Suri, becoming a Medical Tactile Examiner (MTE) has given her a purpose and financial independence. She went blind before her husband died of bone cancer in 2016 at the age of 43, leaving her to raise her son alone. She works part-time, commuting between her home in Rudrapur and Fortis Hospital. Neha joins many other blind and visually impaired women who utilize their heightened sense of touch for the early detection of breast cancer by tactile examinations so that treatment can be started in time.
“I wanted to be independent after my husband’s death. After seeing the way, he suffered, this training was ideal for me because I wanted to help women avoid cancer. I was really frightened that I might miss a lump. But now, I am confident. I see about 20 patients a month,” says Neha who completed a comprehensive nine-month long training to become a certified MTE in 2018.
‘Discovering Hands’ is a project that aims to make a positive difference in the area of breast cancer as well as to lend a helping hand for the visually challenged. This initiative is being implemented in India by the National Association for Blind (NAB) Centre for Blind Women and Disability Studies, a non-profit organization for visually impaired persons in collaboration with Discovering Hands, Germany and Bayer in India.
The blind women are trained and certified to deliver physical breast examinations at doctors’ clinics. They utilise their highly developed sense of touch that they develop over the years, whilst studying minute braille dots, to detect minutest abnormalities.
The detailed examination of the breast takes around 30-45 minutes, where the MTE checks every centimetre of the breast with the help of tactile tapes marked in braille. They also receive training in communication skills and administrative tasks typically carried out by a doctor’s assistant. They are either directly employed by resident doctors or hospitals, or work for different practices and or hospitals on a freelance basis.
In 2018, the first batch of seven MTEs interned under Dr. Kanchan Kaur, Associate Director at the Breast Services in Medanta Medicity, Gurgaon and are now working with different doctors. They are placed at Fortis Hospital, Vasant Kunj, New Delhi; CK Birla Hospital for Women, Gurgaon and Medanta Hospital, Gurgaon. The second batch of 6 MTE’s have completed their training in 2019 (four of them are undergoing internship at Medanta Hospital, Gurgaon and two are interning with Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai).
Program for Primary Prevention of Sexual Violence (PPPSV) against children and women
While child sexual abuse is a universal phenomenon, India is known to have the world’s largest number of sexually abused children in absolute numbers. This is no surprise considering that 53.22% Indian children experience one or more forms of sexual abuse before they turn 18.
To make a positive impact by preventing sexual violence against women and children, Bayer along with King Edward Memorial Hospital Research Centre (KEMHRC), Pune Institute of Sexology and Sexual Medicine, Charite University Clinic of Berlin and an advisory council of experts from India launched an collaborative and innovative initiative - Program for Primary Prevention of Sexual Violence (PPPSV).
The idea of primary prevention is to stop the act from occurring, thus safeguarding women and children from sexual violence and its after-effects. The initiative focuses on three aspects of primary prevention: research, treatment and deterrence.
As part of the treatment, an online assessment tool – ‘Troubled Desire’ was introduced in India in 2017, where a potential offender, who feels attracted to children and early adolescents could register to get a free and confidential treatment and counselling in KEMRHC, Pune. This treatment option is restricted strictly to non-offenders.
The English version of Troubled Desire video – The Lift
Say YES to ‘NO’ app
‘NO’ App, a mobile application has also been developed and released in 2018 with an objective of decreasing sexual violence in the community through deterrence. The app has the simple functionality of a geolocation, which can activate a distress call when facing sexual threat or harassment. It reaches out to other users in the immediate vicinity with location details, who can then navigate to the spot to become supportive bystanders. Additionally, there is also a call-center that works 24/7 to support distress calls swiftly and efficiently.
The underlying principle is that mere awareness of supportive bystanders being informed deters potential offenders from carrying out an attack and helps avert incidences which causes life-long trauma.
The ‘NO’ App is available in Play Store. Type “No KEMHRC” or follow the link: www.notosexualviolence.org