Spot On CML, our new diagnostics project with Fred Hutch, is life-changing and powerful in its impact. Patients who would have had to go without lifesaving treatment because of an inaccessible and expensive test can all of a sudden gain access – a seemingly insurmountable hurdle done away with.
A true example of the mountain coming to Mohammad. And speaking of mountains, it is from the erstwhile Mountain Kingdom of Nepal, that this post comes. Specifically, from B. P. Koirala Memorial Cancer Hospital where I paid a visit in January of this year.
A Solution for B.P. Koirala Memorial Cancer Hospital
For a while, my team and I had been wondering about offering Spot On CML in Nepal, since our Max Access Solutions treatment collaborations were welcoming new patients from there, and there have been challenges in sending samples to be tested in labs outside the country. So we approached Dr. Jaya Shreshta of the B.P. Koirala Memorial Cancer Hospital to find out if he and his institution would be interested in participating.
Dr. Jaya showed keen interest and was extremely happy to receive the kit from The Max Foundation’s HQ team, which happened to coincide with the time of my visit to the hospital.
While I was in town, Dr. Jaya organized a small meeting with his team where he shared the details of the project and the contents of the kit. The excitement was palpable. Then, during a later meeting with the directors of the institution, we were able to bring to the table various issues that needed to be ironed out before the project could be launched. Even as we sorted through the logistics, Dr. Jaya was very keen to begin the project and in my presence enroll the first patient!
Nepal’s First ‘Spot On CML’ Patient
To that end, meet Kabitha – a 27-year-old woman who has been newly diagnosed.
I was able to counsel Kabitha with the help of one of our senior volunteers here. We explained to the young lady and her caregiver how this test would enable her diagnosis to be confirmed as early as possible – and at no cost – so that she may begin her life-saving treatment.
We encouraged Dr. Jaya’s team to make sure this would be done every time with every patient. The whole procedure was explained to the pathology team and with the help of the instructions in the kit, the patient’s blood was drawn and saved on the card in the four given spots. I am glad I was there, able to play a part in implementing Spot On CML in Nepal.
Increased Access & Improved Outcomes
At the time of my visit, Kabitha was the very first patient in Nepal to be tested through our Spot On CML collaboration. Today, just a few months later, 35 patients have been tested through Spot On CML, all under the watchful care of the team at B.P. Koirala Memorial Cancer Hospital. What a gift and what an impact this life-saving collaboration with Fred Hutch!