Three buildings in Mumbai have been allocated to accommodate 165 pediatric cancer patients and their families who come from outstation to Mumbai for treatment.
The centre in Cotton Green area of Mumbai was inaugurated by Union Minister of Road Transport & Highways and Shipping, Nitin Gadkari. The buildings spread across 1.2 acres, which belongs to the Mumbai Port Trust. They were handed over to Tata Memorial Hospital under their Corporate Social Responsibility endeavour.
“Patients come from remote areas for treatment to Mumbai. Usually, due to lack of funds, these patients and their families are found staying on the pavements affecting their health too,” said Sanjay Bhatia, Chairman, Mumbai Port Trust. St. Jude India ChildCare Centre would be taking care of the children and the complete facility. “Very often we have seen people abandon treatment and go back to their homes as they do not have place to stay. These buildings will help them complete their treatment,” said Usha Banerji, CEO, St Jude India Childcare Centre. “We are confident that with this new facility and its provisions, we will be able to make a positive and powerful impact on the lives of these children and their families,” she added,
The three buildings are made keeping children in mind with usage of vibrant colours. Since the treatment takes about six months to one and a half year, it becomes important to take care of food, education and fitness of children. The building is equipped with a kitchen where each family will be given one stove and a starter kit with food essentials. The family can cook food for them here. Additionally, a garden area with basic play rides has been setup.
“I have seen how poor people die due to cancer and lack of medical facility. This centre will help outstation patients in saving their lives. We will try to have three more buildings with similar facilities so that we can help more patients,” said Gadkari.
In 2015, Mumbai Port Trust, in an agreement with Tata Memorial Centre, provided three usused buildings at Cotton Green for housing young patients, who otherwise need to find alternate means of accommodation that may not be safe or economical. St. Jude India ChildCare Centres, a not-for-profit organisation established in Mumbai in 2006 and India’s only home away from home for cancer-afflicted children, was invited as the implementing partner.
The property was then transformed into a safe, clean, cheerful haven for children receiving cancer treatment and their parents, all within a year. The three buildings, house 14 centres and can accommodate 165 families. At the behest of Tata Memorial Centre, there is a floor for doctors to reside as well.
Dr RA Badwe, Director, Tata Memorial Centre said, “This is the only centre in Asia with the capacity to house 165 family units. It will certainly add a lot of value in saving lives of pediatric cancer patients.”
The new facility will be a boon for families that travel far and wide from villages and small towns across India, seeking life-saving cancer treatment for their children. These families usually face the problem of finding safe, secure and low-cost accommodation. As a result, the children, who are usually between 6 months and 15 years, succumb to infections. Alternatively, parents often abandon treatment. To help such families St. Jude India Childcare Centres provides a cost-free support, including a positive environment to stay, transport facility to and fro hospitals, clean water, nutrition, educational and recreational activities as well as psycho-social support.
Hindi cinema veteran, Nana Patekar, also graced the event to show his support for the initiative. Patekar and Gadkari were taken on a tour around the new campus. They also met the children at the facility, who recited a song that they had specially prepared for all attendees.
With this CSR initiative by the Mumbai Port Trust, St Jude’s is now able to take care of 40% of the need for accommodation of children currently under treatment in Mumbai.
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The CSR Journal Team