Hyderabad: HHF starts free palliative care for underprivileged

Hyderabad: Helping Hand Foundation (HHF), a public health care NGO in the city has started providing free palliative care services for patients suffering from end-of-life diseases, particularly for the underprivileged and vulnerable sections of the society.

According to the survey done by the NGO, nearly one-third of the disease burden of all chronic diseases is reported from urban cities.

For instance, Cancer has a higher burden in the city and within the city and is reported in higher proportions in the Old City.

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The survey further points to the fact that the majority of these patients are from economically weaker sections, with a poor understanding of the disease, and do not have easy access to palliative care services.

“Due to high exposure to smoke and non-smoke tobacco, the incidence of head and neck cancers is high in the old city,” says their survey report.

The survey further pointed out that one in three such men have OPMD (Orally Potentially Malignant Disease) or a precancerous condition.

Under palliative care expert, Dr Anjana Surat, with over 15 years of experience in the field, the program will not just cover Cancer, but a wide range of other end-stage diseases and conditions like Chronic kidney, liver, and heart disease, neuro disorders, chronic bed sores, diabetic foot ulcers and gangrene.

“The objective of HHF is to reach out to the sickest and most vulnerable patients and create a holistic approach to tackle stigma, social isolation, physical and emotional well-being, fear and anxiety through counseling in addition to pain management and other clinical treatments,” said Dr Anjana.

The first level of assessment and counselling will be uptaken virtually through a video call by the palliative care counsellors and doctors.

Once the patient is assessed for his or her needs, management of the disease is planned which includes online counselling, in-patient care, and home care services.

Community-level mobilization to identify patients who need help is primarily being done through the HHF Primary Health Centers located in the urban slums.

Founder of HHF, Mujtaba Hasan Askari said, “We already have about 100 plus patients in our list suffering from end-stage conditions who underwent futile treatment at unaffordable cost as the idea of palliative care is poorly understood.”

People may call on the helpline number of HHF-9100943161 for assistance.