In India, nearly 70% of the country's population lives in rural areas. Even so, the healthcare facilities in these areas, especially for cancer, are not adequate.
Rural cancer patients face various challenges in receiving care, including limited availability of cancer treatments and cancer support providers (oncologists, social workers, mental healthcare providers, palliative care specialists, etc.), transportation barriers, financial issues, and limited access to clinical trials. Oncologists and other cancer care providers experience parallel challenges in delivering care to their rural cancer patients. The cancer treatments are not cheap & it becomes difficult for the patients to afford those. For instance, only a Pet CT scan in Pune can cost you anywhere around 15k to 30k Rupees in a private hospital, not to talk about other expensive tests. The government schemes are indeed available but the prices set by them under those schemes do not enable the Healthcare provider to deliver the highest quality treatment. Besides the unmet material & infrastructure needs, patients with cancer have psychosocial issues that are often not sufficiently met in rural areas because of the dearth of social workers and providers of mental health care.
Lately, a number of promising strategies & interventions have been developed to transcend the issue of travelling long distances. Tele-medicine, tele-oncology, outreach clinics, virtual tumor boards, etc. are the options which can fill the gap.
Rural area healthcare also faces a great challenge due to lack of education & awareness which makes it difficult for the consultants to gain their trust & faith with the line of treatment & procedure. Many of these rural population then opt for alternative treatment such as Ayurveda, homoeopathy & other natural therapies.
More than 90% of the Rural population does not have Health Insurance. Insurance Companies in India have now slowly started shifting their focus to Rural Areas after realizing the potential & Urban Market getting saturated.
Amongst the rural women, the major concern is the fear of social stigma, especially with cancer. They have a household to look after & don’t want to cause a burden to their family so they ignore the symptoms. They also fear of what people might think if they are diagnosed with Cancer. In various parts, the lack of awareness of cancer is so much that if someone is diagnosed with cancer, people cut all ties with them, do not touch or be around them thinking it is contagious. Believe it or not, it yet exists in various rural areas. Some are even asked to abandon the village they have been living in.
Onco-Life Cancer Centre’s CEO Mr. Uday Deshmukh realized this gap over a decade ago & hence Onco-Life came into existence. He created such a mix where the hospital could provide not only the best of treatment which you would expect from top major city hospitals but also at extremely affordable rates. Even with government schemes, they could yet function as effectively. Onco-Life Cancer Centre, which is located in Satara, approximately 100 km from Pune, not only caters to entire Satara district, but also to other adjoining districts such as Sangli, Solapur, Kolhapur, Karad etc. The Satara Centre has various state of art facilities which can be availed at a price which is at par with any other cancer hospital in Pune. Onco-Life Cancer Centre also has various patients coming in from Major cities like Pune & Mumbai.
Mr. Uday Deshmukh’s vision has always been to provide the treatment of International standards to our people at affordable rates & wants maximum people to benefit from it. Onco-Life has opened in Chiplun as well. He plans to open more 5 centres in Maharashtra in the next 3 years from now. It is just a start to revolutionize the healthcare system in rural areas of India.