Person of the Year Award Function
Vol 7 Issue 17, Apr 22 - 28, 2016
    Citizen Reporters      |   | Submit Story
Green WarriorsSocial EntrepreneursUnsung Heroes

‘Chattai therapy’, a novel method of helping children with cancer forget pain

   By  Rahul Chhabra
   New Delhi
01 May 2016
Posted 01-Feb-2013
Vol 4 Issue 5

On a sunny, winter morning, a group of about two dozen children, between the ages of three and 12, clap and recite poems along with an instructor in a courtyard outside the out-patients-department at the AIIMS (All India Institute of Medical Sciences), one of Asia's largest research and referral hospitals.
It's that brief, transient tranquility in a day fraught with pain and uncertainty.

As they get busy, they momentarily forget that their parents have queued up outside a counter at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (it treats about 10,000 patients every day) to take them through the traumatic and, often, painful drill of cancer detection and treatment.

Cankids volunteers with child cancer patients at AIIMS

For most of the young cancer patients, a bulk of whom are from other states, the congregation on the chattai, or simple reed mats, and related activities are the only pleasant memories they carry home after a painful day at the hospital.

"I enjoy the fun activity here," Mohammed Rehan, 3, a resident of Alamganj in Bihar's capital Patna, who has blood cancer, said.

The young patient acknowledges the gains from the chattai "clinic". Behind it is the complex exercise of relaxation and group therapies, along with motivational and self-esteem modules, prepared by volunteers and the education team of NGO Cankids Kidscan.

Saloni, 6, suffering from throat cancer, is also a regular at the chattai meetings during visits to the hospital from her house in Delhi's Shalimar Bagh neighbourhood.

"Papa takes me to doctor inside when my turn comes; till then I spend time here," Saloni, whose father is a driver, said.

The two bravehearts fighting cancer are not alone. There are many others like them who attend about seven weekly chattai sessions catering to 300 children outside several cancer OPDs at AIIMS.

Poonam Bagai, chairperson of Cankids, said: "Our chattai sessions are in the open intentionally, as we want to create awareness and invite public inquiries."

"One aspect of the exercise is to distract the child from the sometimes painful treatment drill and impart some craft and learning skills," she said.

"A child breathes easy when he is away from the ward where he is forced to see other cancer patients in suffering," said the head of Cankids, herself a cancer survivor.

The NGO engages teachers to impart informal education and skills during the children's period of treatment. This, in particular, helps reintegration into schooling and society generally, once treatment is completed.

The NGO offers emotional support to patients' parents and extends financial assistance for their treatment.

As Manoj Kumar Gujela, Cankids' senior programme officer, put it: "No child should suffer for want of treatment because of lack of finance."

Bagai, the brain behind the arrangement with the AIIMS' authorities for helping cancer-afflicted kids, said similar arrangements were being put in place in 29 cancer centres across the country.

According to a 2009 article in Indian Journal of Cancer, childhood cancer contributes to less than five percent of the total cancer burden in India, with approximately 45,000 children diagnosed with cancer every year. In developed countries, 80 to 95 percent of children with cancer are cured.

Many of the volunteers are themselves survivors or parents of kids who overcame the disease or lost the battle against it while being supported by the NGO. They are a part of the NGO's Parent Support Group (PSG) and are empowered to become skilled advocates and navigators - who help patients during their hospital visits, Bagai said.

Sandhya Prashar, mother of Vedant, 15, who survived stomach cancer four years ago, still remembers the help she received from Cankids during her family's ordeal.
"Now we take the patient's family members through the complicated procedures of obtaining treatment at the hospital and save them from getting lost in a maze," said Prashar.

Kapil Chawla, 29, who fought cancer in the neck over a decade ago, now serves the organisation as a regular volunteer. He like many other teenagers and young adult survivors have formed KidsCan Konnect - a group of childhood cancer ambassadors.

"I joined them as I realise the importance of the effort that goes into making the kids comfortable," said the resident of east Delhi, who prepares modules for spreading awareness among patients and society. - IANS



Print  |  Email  | 
 Share   

You might also like:

Project Bihar

Just into his second term as Bihar Chief Minister, Nitish Kumar feels that he is on test. He has no option other than performing, though it is a tough job. But, as he tells Sankarshan Thakur, at the moment he is not looking at New Delhi

Read More

Elegy to Sardar

The week’s greatest loss was Khushwant Singh, a man of many parts who passed away on March 20, missing his 100th birthday. Vikas Datta pays tribute to the man, on whose bed Nargis once slept

Read More

Stories on Innovations & Innovators
The Lead Star Digital Issue
adyar bakery
 
Mentoring Tamil Nadu



Popular Stories

Family lunch

When there is an eatery at every nook and cranny, why do people travel as far as 200 km for lunch in an obscure village near Erode? Usha Prasad brings the flavour of UBM Namma Veetu Saapaadu, served in a plantain leaf for the whole family

Read More

Grit gets success

From selling samosas on Chennai streets to setting up his own pakora shop to owning a Rs 1.5 crore company supplying delicacies to five star hotels, J Haja Funyamin has come a long way. P C Vinoj Kumar captures the flavour of a success story

Read More

Watershed innovation

Bhungroo in Gujarati means a hollow pipe. But Biplab Ketan Paul gave the word a new meaning by an innovation that has led to water availability, soil improvement and women empowerment, thus helping 14,000 farmers, says Kavita Kanan Chandra

Read More

Momo monarchs

Two friends in Kolkata, keen on turning their culinary delight into business, rejected job offers in a campus interview to start a momo kiosk. Eight years on, their venture started with Rs.30,000 has grown into a Rs.100 Cr entity, says G Singh

Read More

Model farmer

In a region known for farmer suicides and parched fields, Gudivada Nagaratnam Naidu returned to his roots, giving up a job, and went on to create a farm revolution. S Sainath visited Naidu’s farm near Hyderabad that’s even got an apple tree

Read More

Quality of success

Aasife Biriyani, popular among Chennai’s foodies and sold through nine outlets, was dispensed from a pushcart 18 years ago. Founder Aasife Ahmed made it a Rs 70 crore turnover chain by just not compromising on quality, says P C Vinoj Kumar

Read More

A free lunch

An ordinary simple middle class couple has been serving free lunch to 34 senior citizens in Mumbai since 2012. Somma Banerjjee finds out why Yvonne and Mark D’Souza are so selfless in service

Read More

Doctor Poor

A doctor extraordinaire, 33-year-old Sunilkumar Hebbi treats patients for free and has conducted over 650 medical camps in and around Bengaluru, benefitting 30,000 poor people. Usha Prasad tells us how a beggar inspired him to serve the poor

Read More

Caring the carer

People caring for patients in government hospitals often stay hungry. But a Good Samaritan acknowledges their service and takes care of them too by providing them food, says P C Vinoj Kumar

Read More

Water saver

The innovation by Uttam Banerjee is a godsend to the country that needs to go in for water conservation in a big way. Fitting Zerodor, a polymeric wall, to ceramic urinals would save 50,000 to 1,51,000 litres of water, says Narendra Kaushik

Read More
 
Kudos image

"The Weekend Leader not only gives a glimpse of the better things happening around us but also tells stories of people who made it possible.”

Ajay Chaturvedi, Entrepreneur More Kudos
 
Archives  |   Columns  |   About Us  |   Contact Us  |   Feedback  |   Response  |     |   Cheers!  |   Support Us  |   Friends of Positive Journalism
© Copyright The Weekend Leader.com, 2010. All rights reserved.