Swapnil Mane was nine years old when he saw his neighbour Joshi Kaka lose his battle with cancer; Kaka was unable to afford the expensive medical treatment. Shaken by Kaka's death, Swapnil Mane decided to become a doctor to support the needy by providing treatment free of charge.
In 2007, Dr Mane joined Mumbai's Tata Memorial Hospital as a fellow in the gynaecological oncology department. He started his career with a desire to cure cancer patients. One day, Dr Mane saw a pale and anxious patient waiting in the hospital lobby and asked him what the matter was. The patient replied that he didn't have enough money to cover the hospital bills. Dr Mane gave some money to the patient, and also found an NGO to cover his expenses. After the patient was discharged from the hospital, he gave the patient some money to go home.
Dr Mane was saddened to see patients sleeping on the footpaths of Mumbai because they didn't have enough money to rent a place in the city. He began his quest to fulfill his dream of offering free cancer care to the poor. His efforts bore fruit when he opened the 'Dr Mane Medical Foundation and Research Center' at Rahuri town in Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra. Ahmednagar is located 120kms from Pune.
The Foundation has been recognized by the Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (SIRO) of the Department of Science and Technology. The Foundation runs a 'Community Initiative' and multi-specialty 'Cancer Hospital.'
Cancer is categorised into four levels, and is curable at an early stage, although it becomes more painful at a later stage with fewer chances of survival then, explains Dr Mane. Dr Mane adds that the extremely poor infrastructure facilities in rural areas of Maharashtra make it impossible for commoners to go to a hospital for treatment. Numerous superstitions regarding cancer prevail among villagers, causing many to succumb to the deadly disease, without proper medical treatment. Dr Mane and his team, therefore, agreed to set up camps in rural areas to treat cancer patients.
Dr Mane and his team have been organizing camps for early detection of symptoms of cancer among people living in rural areas of Maharashtra as part of a community project. If cancer is detected in a patient, he or she will be admitted to the hospital and is treated free of charge. To date, Dr Mane and his team have conducted 238 camps and treated 64,000 cancer patients free of charge in their hospital.
Rhythima Agrawal aspires to be a good writer and loves to write about social and community issues.
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