World Sight Day: Training program helps blind women detect breast cancer

World Sight Day: Training program helps blind women detect breast cancer

Whatever the disability, confidence to move beyond that is the key.

On the occasion of World Sight Day, the National Association for Blind (NAB) Centre for Blind Women and Disability Studies, has come up with a unique idea to enhance the scope of work options for blind women.

Through a nine-month program, the centre teaches them about breast examination, spotting cancers and tumours. After the completion of the course, these women can work in hospitals and testing labs and conduct manual tests on patients.

In collaboration with Discovering Hands, Germany, the centre launched this initiative in India recently.
“We were contacted by Discovering Hands Germany in 2015 and they told us about the programme where blind women through a manual check up can detect early signs of breast cancer. Along with Dr. Kanchan Kaur, who is the associate director at the Breast Services in Medanta Medicity, Gurgaon, I went to Germany to thoroughly check this system since we had our doubts about it. However, we realized that the blind women were conducting the examination in the same manner as medical professionals, but with more concentration and focus,” said Shalini Khanna, Director of NAB.

“There is a five day assessment period during which we check certain skills that are imperative for them to be chosen for the course, and a lot of them do not succeed during this test. Also, the women have to be over 18, and their age and maturity is an important criterion. After all, they’re looking for a tumour! We coach them so that they’re comfortable about their own bodies and examining others. Breasts are something we don’t really talk about much in India,” explains Khanna.

Post this, the chosen ones are taken through the program, where they are trained extensively.
Not only has this given the women a new means of livelihood, but it has also helped them boost their morale. Most of them were looked down upon by their families, who chose to keep them at home because of their disability. But after completing this course, they can now venture out and prove themselves worthy.

A ray of hope for people who have, unfortunately, been limited because of this issue.


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