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Annual reports


Annual Report 2015-16: 

GPH Free Cancer Clinics 2015-16

In the year 2015–16 Ganga Prem Hospice continued to hold monthly free cancer clinics in Rishikesh. An additional clinic was also held for the first time at Roorkee which was sponsored by the Roorkee Rotary Club.

The thirteen clinics held during the year 2015-16 served a total of 1362 patients with nine of the clinics being attended by more than 100 patients. Of these patients 554 had cancer and another forty-five were suspected of having the disease and sent for further diagnostic tests. The trend of having more patients with cancer attend the clinics and fewer general patients has continued over the past few years rewarding the efforts of the Hospice to reach out and help cancer patients in the Uttarakhand area. Of the cancer patients 117 were terminally ill and most of them were provided with GPH Home Care services. Those who lived too far away to be visited were able to consult with the team over the telephone with appropriate medicines then sent to them by public transport.




Although 64% of patients attending the clinic were between the ages of 41 and 70, there were still a high number of young people, 53 patients being under the age of 20 with another 97 patients between the ages of 21 and 30.

Despite efforts to increase the attendance of women at the clinic, male patients were still in the majority accounting for 59% of the total patients. Among the women patients there were eighty-five cases of breast cancer, making it the most common type of cancer seen at the clinic. There were also fourteen cases of ovarian cancer and ten cases of cervical cancer. The male patients were suffering primarily from head and neck cancers,(31% of all cancers seen at the clinic) many of the cases resulting from alcohol, tobacco or gutka abuse.

With the regular clinic being held in Rishikesh, 58% of the patients attending the clinic were from Rishikesh itself; another 15% had travelled from Dehradun to see the oncologists and 7% were from the nearby city of Haridwar. Ninety-six patients (7%) had made the difficult journey from towns and villages in the Himalayas while 13% had come from various towns in the plains. Most of the patients from the plains had come from Uttar Pradesh towns bordering the state of Uttarakhand.

As the area in which the Hospice serves is predominately Hindu it is not surprising to see that 95% of the patients coming for consultations were Hindu. Thirty-four of the patients were Muslim and most of these had attended the Roorkee clinic where there are a greater number of Muslims living in the local area. Two Christians, eight Jains and twenty-six Sikhs also attended the clinics during the course of the year.




Sixteen doctors served the patients at the free cancer clinics throughout the year and of these doctors fifteen were volunteers. The doctors included three oncologists, four palliative care specialists, one onco-psychiatrist, two gynaecologists, one ENT specialist, three dentists, one ayurvedaacharya and one general doctor.  The service of dentists at the clinic was a new introduction this year and found immensely helpful to the patients suffering from oral cancers. Nine of the doctors came from the local area, four travelled from Delhi to serve at the clinic while three were from other countries. Two nurses and a nursing assistant employed by the Hospice assisted the doctors at the clinics.

Dentists serve at the clinic
Volunteer doctor and translator with a patient



As well as the volunteer doctors other volunteers helping out at the clinic included student nurses, therapists, two dieticians, two pharmacists and many general volunteers who helped with the clinic arrangements and general care of patients and their families. The volunteers came from all walks of life and included professionals, academics, business men, students, housewives and even renunciates. Most of the volunteers were local people while a few came from other cities or states and approximately fifteen were from overseas.

Ganga Prem Hospice administration staff took responsibility for the smooth running of the clinics as well the preparatory work locally, advertising, registration, patient data collection, patient follow up procedures and media reporting work.

The Rishikesh clinics were all held at the Punjab Sindh Kshetra and Nanki Devi Sardarni Charity Hospital where all the facilities were provided free of charge. The clinic’s closest neighbours, the Rajisthani Misthan Bandhar continued to donate drinks and refreshments for everyone attending the clinic and were often emulated by other individual supporters who distributed fruits and other refreshments to the patients.

Guided meditation sessions were held at the clinics which were attended by patients and carers as well as GPH staff and volunteers. The ambience at the clinics was always notably loving and caring transforming a difficult and potentially very sad atmosphere into somewhere where patients and their families felt supported to the extent that many regular patients spoke of how much they looked forward to the clinics.


Annual Report 2015-16: Home Care

During the year 2015-16 an additional team was created allowing three Ganga Prem Hospice home care teams to visit patients with advanced cancer in their own homes and provide palliative care. As well as medical treatment and nursing care the teams provide social, emotional and spiritual support to both the patients and their families at a time when help is desperately needed but rarely found in the north of India.


Over the past eight years the Hospice Home Care Programme has gradually expanded its service to help more and more patients; from the early days in 2007 when two or three patients were visited in their homes until this year, 2015-16, when 173 patients with advanced cancer received home care. With two and later three full time nurses, a part time palliative care doctor and visiting volunteer doctors, nurses and therapists, Ganga Prem Hospice was able to have at least two or three teams visiting patients at any one time.

Graph of Home care Patients per year
Graph of Home care Patients per year



Ninety-five of home care patients were from Dehradun, fifty-five from GPH’s home town, Rishikesh, and twenty-one from Haridwar. Another two patients were visited in their homes in the Himalayan region. In March of 2016, seeing the urgent need for home care in the Uttarakhand capital of Dehradun, the Board of Shradha Cancer Care Trust passed a resolution to keep one of the Hospice vehicles in Dehradun and to hire a third driver. With an ambulance stationed in Dehradun the time taken up in travel from Rishikesh to Dehradun was saved and the Dehradun based Home Care team could even visit patients on the far side of the city which until then had taken too much time to reach and so could not be included in the schedule. The number of patients visited in March shot up to 73 from a previous high of 54. The number of visits carried out also increased substantially reaching 294 during March. During the whole year 2,584 home care visits were carried out by the Hospice Home Care teams.

Number of patients per month
Number of patients per month
Three young patients at the Christmas party
Three young patients at the Christmas party



Sadly 20% of the home care patients were under the age of forty and included six children and eight young people in their twenties. Three of the young patients served during the year were well enough to enjoy special days out and a number of events and outings were arranged by GPH during the winter to help make their days brighter. These special times included a Christmas party, a concert by Krishna Das, two birthday parties, a picnic outing and an outing to the cinema as well as some fun home care visits to fulfill ‘last wishes’. Two of the young people related the poignant stories of their journeys with cancer at the palliative care training course that Ganga Prem Hospice held in November of 2015. Patients between the ages of 51 and 70 accounted for 43% of the patients.

The Home Care patients suffered from 45 different types of cancer, the commonest being lung cancer with 19 patients and a further 15 patients suffering from cancer of the breast. Head and neck cancers accounted for 24% of the cancers with forty two patients having cancer in this area; of these cheek, tongue and oesophagus cancers were the most common. Many of the patients suffering from head and neck cancers had been chronic consumers of tobacco or alcohol during their lifetimes.

GPH Nurse dresses a facial cancer wound
GPH Nurse dresses a facial cancer wound
Financial status of GPH home care patients
Financial status of GPH home care patients



43% of the home care patients in the year 2015-16 lived in poverty with 46 of these being very poor and often requiring more than just nursing and emotional support. For many such patients the Hospice provided food rations and other basic living requirements as well as sponsoring any medical treatment that was needed. The largest group of patients may be termed lower middle class, a section of society that also gets hit very hard, struggling to pay medical expenses for their family members with cancer and often needing a lot of emotional support. 18% of the patients were financially stable but their families were tremendously grateful to receive support in their own homes. These patients were provided with nursing and emotional, spiritual help. This group of patients’ families usually bought their own medicines and provided for any medical equipment that the patients needed, often donating any leftover medical accessories or medicine to GPH after the patient had passed away.

The geographical area in which the Hospice works is predominately Hindu so it was not surprising to find that 155 out of the 173 home care patients were Hindu. The patients also included seven Muslims, five Jains, three Christians and three Sikhs.

Throughout the year 2015-16, ten doctors served the patients. Of these ten doctors, one was a salaried GPH member of staff and nine were volunteer doctors who gave their time and expertise as a service. Among the ten doctors, five were palliative care specialists and one was an onco-psychiatrist. The others comprised of a general physician, a dentist trained in palliative care and two interns. Seven of the volunteer doctors were from countries other than India although two of these were of Indian descent and could speak Hindi.

The doctors were supported by ten nurses, three of whom were employed by the Ganga Prem Hospice while seven were volunteers. Of the seven volunteer nurses six came from abroad, three were interns and two were palliative care nurses, one specializing in pediatrics.

Six therapists volunteered at the Hospice during the year, four of them from abroad. The therapists specialized in massage, acupuncture and aromatherapy. Two volunteer dieticians from the UK also joined the Home Care team and gave invaluable advice on diet for the patients especially those with feeding tubes and other dietary difficulties.

A patient with a feeding tube
A patient with a feeding tube
A volunteer entertains a patient’s children
A volunteer entertains a patient’s children



Thirteen general volunteers made home care visits during the year, eight of them being Indian and three of these serving as social workers. Some of the volunteers accompanied a foreign medical professional for translation and some were visiting to give emotional support to the patients and their families

2015-16 has been a special year with GPH Home Care service seeing an expansion of its services through the hard work and generosity of staff, volunteers and supporters in India and abroad.  On behalf of all the patients, GPH extends it thanks to all who have helped make the service work so well for so many.

Annual Report 2014-15

GPH Free Cancer Clinics 2014-15

In the year 2014 -2015 Ganga Prem Hospice held fifteen free cancer clinics. Of these clinics, twelve were the monthly cancer clinics held on the last Sunday of every month at the Nanki Devi and Punjab Sindh Kshetra Charity Hospital in Rishikesh, two, sponsored by the Sai Soham Samiti, were held at the City Hospital in Dehradun and one, sponsored by the Ranipur Rotary club, was held at the Janjeevan Hospital in Haridwar.

The Ganga Prem Hospice cancer clinics attracted 1282 patients who came to consult, free of charge, with the eminent oncologists who volunteered at the clinics throughout the year. Four hundred and seventy one of the patients were already confirmed cancer patients while the rest had symptoms that indicated the possibility of cancer and came to avail of the free cancer screening opportunity offered at the clinics.

Registration at a Dehradun clinic.
Registration at a Dehradun clinic
Patients wait for consultations at Rishikesh clinic.
Patients wait for consultations at Rishikesh clinic
Sixty one of the patients who received screening, i.e. 8% of the patients, were suspected of having cancer and were sent for further diagnostic tests to substantiate the suspicion. 19%of the cancer patients attending the cancer clinics were terminally ill and were added to the home care programme. In some cases when patients lived too far away from Rishikesh to receive visits from the team, the GPH palliative care doctor kept in touch with the patients and their families by telephone, and when necessary medicines were sent to them by local transport.

Head and neck cancers were the most frequently seen cancer; these were often due to the habits of chewing tobacco and gutka which is common among the men of this region. Cancer of the tongue was the commonest single cancer type with fifty-three patients suffering from this malignancy. Breast cancer was the second most frequent cancer with forty-seven cases being recorded.
Types of cancer seen at the clinics
Types of cancer seen at the clinics
In keeping with previous years, there were more men attending the clinics than women. 717 of the patients were male, 565 were female. The most frequent age group of the patients was the 51-70 year age range although the clinics also saw fifty-six patients under the age of twenty-one and another ninety-one between the ages of 21-30 years.
Male and Female Patient Ratio
Male and Female Patient Ratio
Age groups percentile
Age groups percentile
78% of the patients attending the cancer clinics came from the town of Rishikesh. Another 8% came from Dehradun and 5% from Haridwar.4%came from mountainous regions where there is little or no provision for cancer screening or consultations with oncologists. As the inhabitants of the Rishikesh, Haridwar and Dehradun areas  are predominately Hindu by religion it is not surprising to see that 95% of the attendees at the clinics were Hindu.
Types of cancer seen at the clinics
Town percentile of patients
Forty-one Sikhs, twenty-seven Muslims and two Christians were also among the patients receiving consultations from the volunteer doctors.

The patients were attended by the Ganga Prem Hospice team of staff and volunteers. Throughout the year no less than nine oncologists and two palliative care specialists served the patients at different clinics. Other doctors who gave consultations at the clinic included four gynaecologists, two general physicians, one ophthalmologist (eye specialist), one ENT specialist, an ayurveda-aacharya and one intern. Whilst most of the doctors travelled from Delhi to serve at the clinic, seven doctors came from Dehradun, two were from Rishikesh and four were visiting from the UK.

Three doctors see patients at a busy clinic
Three doctors see patients at a busy clinic
Volunteers usher patients into the consultation room
Volunteers usher patients into the consultation room

Volunteers at the clinic included nurses, (two of whom were specialist palliative care nurses), massage therapists, an acupuncture practitioner and a dietician. Other volunteers helped with the registration and clinic arrangements, serving food and drinks and seeing to the patients’ general needs. Most of the volunteers were local people although there were also people from overseas who volunteered at some of the clinics. Throughout the year local hotels and individuals provided refreshments at the clinic. In addition, canopies for shade were donated during the hot season.

The Nanki Devi Trust and Punjab Sindh Kshetra are to be thanked for the continued donation of their premises for the monthly Rishikesh clinics.

Annual Report 2014-15: Home Care

The Ganga Prem Hospice home care teams visited 130 patients with advanced stage cancer during the year 2014 -15. The patients, coming mostly from Dehradun, Haridwar and Rishikesh, received palliative care consultations, nursing, wound dressings, free medicines and counselling in their own homes.

Fifty-nine of the patients served by the Hospice lived in the Uttarakhand state capital of Dehradun and another forty-seven resided in Rishikesh, the Hospice’s home town. Twenty-one patients were visited in their homes in the city of Haridwar while two lived in the Himalayan foothills and one in the plains, at Saharanpur.Three four day trips were made to Uttarkashi, 153 kilometres away from Rishikesh to visit a twenty year old patient who was desperately in need of care. Two new vehicles were donated to Ganga Prem Hospice in May and June respectively bringing the total of vehicles up to three. The GPH vehicles travelled 11,072 kilometres during the year, most of travel being on home care visits.


The number of patients visited in each month varied as new patients joined the programme and existing patients passed away. The maximum number of home care patients visited in one month occurred in September 2014 when fifty-one patients received home care visits. The minimum number was twenty-eight in January 2015. The average number of patients visited per month was thirty-seven. The total number of visits made during the year was 1771. The lower number of visits made in December and January was a result of one of the GPH nurses taking extended leave.

Sadly eight of the home care patients were below the age of twenty. Serving terminally ill children is emotionally very difficult for the home care teams but the visits were carried out with much love and care and were very much appreciated by the patients’ families. After the death of one fourteen year old, the parents stated they could not have got through the ordeal without the daily support of the team. Forty of the patients were between the ages of forty-one and fifty accounting for 31% of the patients. Sixty-eight of the home care patients were female and sixty-two male.
The types of cancer that the home care patients suffered from were very varied but the most common type of cancer was lung cancer with fifteen patients having this condition. The second most common cancers found among the patients were breast and liver cancers with six patients suffering from each type of cancer. 16% of the patients had head and neck cancers while another 21% suffered from abdominal cancers.

As Ganga Prem Hospice works in a predominantly Hindu area, the majority, 119, of the home care patients were Hindu while there were six Muslims, three Christians and two Sikhs.

Ganga Prem Hospice employed three different nurses during the year 2014-5, two of them being employed at any one time. A part time palliative care doctor and a nursing assistant also formed a regular part of the team along with the ambulance drivers who were always helpful to the team and to the families visited. Behind the scenes a team of administrators kept the data and statistics in order ensuring it was known which patient needed what at the right time. They also arranged that medicines and supplies were in stock as required.


Volunteer doctors, nurses, therapists, social workers and office workers from India and abroad joined the team from time to time and helped to improve the quality and quantity of the work. Some volunteers worked for a few days or weeks and a number for several months.

Most of the medicines and dressings that are used in home care visits were donated by pharmaceutical companies but in addition to this, Ganga Prem Hospice spent Rs 52,591 on other medicines and medical supplies which were needed for the home care patients.



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