Ecosystem of Care

1. Specialized Ward

In October 2008, IMPACT collaborated with MNJ Cancer Hospital to establish a 14-bed pediatric oncology unit. Prior to this, children at MNJ were treated alongside adults. The lack of an exclusive space and specially trained staff contributed heavily to low cure rates. The new ward grew quickly and was soon treating 35 to 40 children at any given time. Recognizing the need for a bigger and better space, NATCO Trust came forward and built a 45-bed pediatric oncology unit that includes isolation rooms, procedure rooms and a playroom. Today the NATCO pediatric oncology ward treats around 70 children every day.

IMPACT supports the day-to-day maintenance of the ward including the salaries of five ward attendants and security personnel. All cleaning equipment and materials are provided to ensure that the ward is clean and free of contagions.

2. Palliative Care

We at IMPACT strongly believe that every child deserves a life free of suffering. In 2008 we initiated the Pediatric Palliative Care program. Palliative care is focused on improving the quality of life for a terminally ill child by mitigating pain and other symptoms, while also offering social, emotional and spiritual support to children and their families. The Pain and Palliative Care Society (link) under the able guidance of Dr. Gayatri Palat provides the technical expertise for the program. Most of our counselors and nurses at IMPACT are certified in palliative care and strive to ensure the well-being of terminally ill children.

  • The only pediatric palliative care program in the state of Andhra Pradesh
  • One of the largest pediatric palliative programs in the country with over 350 children who received care in 2011.
  • Documenting the need for an effective pain program for children.
  • MNJ hospital is the first institution to start a pediatric palliative care fellowship in India

3. Nursing

Nurses are a key component of IMPACT’s integrated CARE Team. They provide dedicated, around-the-clock specialized care to child cancer patients. Currently IMPACT supports the salaries of 12 nurses who all undergo rigorous training in pediatric oncology nursing before being allowed to administer chemotherapy to the children. In addition, we support the training program for nurses hired by the Medical Oncology Department at MNJ Institute of Oncology, as well as a Continuous Medical Education Program (CME) that all nurses are required to attend. Many of the nurses are additionally certified in palliative care.

4. Counselors

Counselors are another integral part of the IMPACT CARE Team. They play an extremely important role in providing care to children with cancer and are key in ensuring that the children return for treatment on time. They support families while they are in the hospital and help them with various investigations and procedures. They also look after the emotional and psycho-social needs of our patients and their families. IMPACT supports the salaries of 2 full-time counselors and NATCO Trust generously provides salaries for an additional 2 counselors. All counselors are certified in palliative care with specialized training in communication with children and families faced with a potentially fatal disease.

5. Lab Services

IMPACT has been actively working with MNJ Cancer Hospital to improve their in-house laboratory services. This has resulted in a marked decrease in the number of out-sourced tests and a significant decrease in medical costs to patients. In addition, strengthening the laboratory services at MNJ has benefited both adult and pediatric patients.

  • Established an Immuno-histochemistry laboratory to aid in the accurate diagnosis of childhood cancers.
  • Strengthened the current Biochemistry and Microbiology Departments
  • Provided money for necessary investigations that are not available at MNJ.

6. Medicine

The availability of medicines is key to the timely treatment of children with cancer. While many of the medications are provided free of cost by the government, there are occasions where a particular medicine is in short supply. IMPACT bridges this gap by providing whatever medication a child needs in order to ensure optimal treatment. IMPACT also provides free medications for patients from out-of state who are not covered by the Arogyasri government insurance scheme.

7. Accommodations

Treatment of children with cancer requires complex, intensive, expensive regimens administered over prolonged periods of time. At a time of their greatest need, parents and children are deprived of community and family support and are required to stay in unfamiliar places for long durations. IMPACT is actively working with the government, MNJ Hospital and various philanthropists and organizations to construct a “Home Away From Home” for patients and their families. We are confident that this will significantly improve the care we can offer to children.

8. Nutrition

Consistently providing nutritious, hot meals to patients and their families is a critical component of the IMPACT ecosystem of care.

  • Mr. Babu Rao and team have generously provided daily raw materials like rice, dal, vegetables and curd to all children and families admitted to MNJ.
  • MEIL (Megha Engineering and Infrastructure Limited) has constructed a dining facility at MNJ for both children and adults.
  • MNJ volunteers provide free mineral water to all children at the NATCO ward. In addition they prepare a special home-cooked meal for all the children every Saturday.

9. Blood Camps

Blood products are an essential but expensive part of cancer treatment. On average, a family can expect to spend 30,000 to 50,000 rupees on blood alone. In 2008 IMPACT began partnering with local blood banks in a concerted effort to provide free blood products to all its patients. Today most families of children with cancer no longer need to buy blood.

  • In 2012 IMPACT strengthened its partnership with local blood banks and now runs blood camps in various colleges and corporations.
  • Under the able guidance of Mrs. Geeta Manghani and Srinivas Akkala, 420 total units of blood were collected at 7 seven different blood camps conducted between March and June of 2012.

10. Transport

One of the main causes of treatment abandonment is the inability of children and families to afford the costs of frequent visits to the hospital. At IMPACT we believe that this is a readily surmountable obstacle to care. We now provide financial assistance for transportation costs for needy children and their parents.

  • The average cost of transport per family per visit is Rs. 500/-
  • IMPACT supports over 50 visits every month.