2022 Leadership Journey Project: Understanding the reason for delays and treatment abandonment among women with cancer
As a medical oncologist, I have been actively involved in the care of patients with hematological cancers. Hematological cancers are one of the most curable malignancies however the treatment of hematological cancers is very resource-intensive, needs expertise, and involves significant out-of-pocket expenditure, most patients abandon therapy at the beginning itself. To circumvent these issues, my colleagues and I established the Leukemia and lymphoma foundation to impart knowledge about the disease, financial assistance, accommodation support, and advocate for the needs of the patients with policymakers and the public. As a core group member of the National Cancer Grid (NCG), which is the largest network of cancer centers, research organizations, and patient groups, I have worked towards ensuring delivery of uniform cancer care, training of healthcare professionals, and multi-centric research to develop cost-effective treatment solutions. I have led the effort of developing resource stratified guidelines for the management of cancers which are now linked with Ayushman Bharat PMJAY oncology packages. I have been an active proponent of value-based care. To incorporate the same in NCG, I have been leading the effort of health technology assessment of several high-value anticancer treatments which will further inform the guidelines and reimbursements. In addition, to improve the affordability of high-value anticancer drugs, I have led the group negotiation initiative in NCG which translated into marked cost-saving for several cancer centers and the patients. I am one of the members of the Cancer Medicine Working group of WHO essential medicine list and have actively participated in the revision of the last EML and provided the perspective from LMICs. One of the objectives of NCG is to decentralize cancer care which can then empower patients to continue treatment in their own city without significant disruption of life and work. I have led the initiative of patient health record integration to provide patients ownership of their medical data and facilitate seamless care between centers.