Aiding patients undergoing treatment at the Regional Cancer Centre (RCC), the Devaki Warrier Memorial Women’s Studies and Empowerment Centre expanded its modest accommodation to two more rooms at its Chalakuzhy facility. Inaugurated by T.N. Seema, MP, the building that used to house 30 patients can now accommodate eight more.
The centre that started functioning in 2002 under the auspices of Kerala Working Women’s Association was created in memory of its founder president Devaki Warrier who succumbed to cancer in 2001.
The primary objective of the group has been to provide care and accommodation free of cost to those undergoing the arduous and physically exhausting treatment for cancer.
“The radiation treatment causes the patient to become very frail and there are those who don’t know or can’t afford to take care of the patient as they should be,” said the secretary of organisation, T. Radhamony.
“We house many children in our facility and we permit their parents to live with the child here,” she said.
She added that there were RCC patients who had lived at their care home for over three years, all through the full course of treatment. In addition to giving shelter, the facility offered counselling sessions and provided food as well.
“We have cooking facilities here, so these patients can even cook on their own if they wish. We have women who live here with them otherwise, to take care of all they need,” said Ms. Radhamony. She said post-op care was vital and that the care centre paid close attention to the food prescribed by the doctor and ensured that it was provided.
Entirely funded by donations, the building expansion plan too was realised by the MP’s fund.
Apart from this centre, which can now house 38 patients, there is a larger facility at the Medical College junction, the TRIDA Visram Sanketh capable of accommodating 70 patients. The organisation moved into the four-storey building three years ago. The building has a library with over 5,000 books and a reading room for those living here.
Ms. Radhamony said the main problem the organisation faced was the lack of economic assistance. They had teamed up with a voluntary organisation that provides financial assistance to RCC patients — Ashraya. The two together provided valuable aid to those unable to fend for themselves. Ms. Radhamony added that the State Bank of Travancore had donated ambulances to the centre.
“When we approached the government for aid via the Social Welfare Department, we were told to take the Health Department route. We were then told that the since we work outside the RCC, government aid is limited,” said Ms. Radhamony.