Gujratbee Nabi Sheik a 70 year old widowed mother of 2 daughters and a son, from a village about 25 km from Miraj. She lives alone and is dependent on her neighbors for food and the financial support coming from her daughters.
Since her young age she has been rolling beedis to make a living where she was paid Rs 50 for rolling 500 beedis. The work was fairly simple and not hard and very soon she started chewing tobacco along with her other friends as they rolled their quota each day. This practice slowly became a habit, to the extent that the first thing she would do in the morning after brushing her teeth was to place a wad of tobacco in the left side of her mouth, which not only gave her a certain kind of kick but suppressed her hunger and even gave her a good night sleep.
This continued for years until one day she discovered an ulcer on the left side of her oral cavity which turned into a painful swelling. She could no longer place tobacco in her usual place and found difficulty in chewing bread.
She went to see the local practitioner who gave her a white powder to swallow along with water every morning and advised her to avoid certain food saying “it is not serious and will heal gradually”. The local medicine didn’t bring much relief to her and fortunately, she went to consult a dentist who examined her free of cost and told her she could be having cancer of the tongue, which made no sense to Mrs. Gujratbee.
The dentist referred her to the nearest District Government hospital but due to the unavailability of doctor, she was not given a proper check up and was told to come back after 6 weeks which was also cancelled. At this point she had lost about 20 kg weight. She was discouraged and never returned to that hospital.
Six years went by and the same problem resurfaced. Once again Mrs. Gujratbee started feeling unwell and could feel an ulcer on her tongue. This time one of her relatives, told her about CMAI’s “Prayas” project. They gathered all her previous records of treatment and took her to the hospital in Sangli where they were referred to the Radiotherapy Dept. She was examined and found to have recurrence of cancer of the tongue. Also, having found that she was eligible for free treatment under project Prayas, the hospital began her treatment with radiotherapy. Mrs. Gujratbee tolerated the treatment well because of the supportive treatment given alongside.
Her cancer slowly abated and on her last visit one of her daughters along with her family had come to visit the hospital where Gujratbee received the treatment free of cost. They all thanked the hospital staff for making this miracle possible.
CMAI under its Project “Prayas” treated 21 patients free of cost including cost of surgery, chemotherapy, drugs, food and accommodation to the relatives.