Why We Started

In Sri Lanka, the government provides optimal health services to the best of its ability.  However, due to the high cost of cancer care, the government based efforts need to be complemented by donors and non-governmental agencies.  For example, the government spends about Rs.9 million (approx: $71,000) for each patient with breast cancer,  but this does not cover all of the necessary drugs and care that the patient requires.

Many of the latest drugs used are very expensive and cannot be afforded by the government's health budget.  Even if they are supplied, they must come through the long process of government procurement procedures.  This leads to a shortage of drugs in the government-run pharmacies, forcing patients to purchase medication from private pharmacies. 
 
In many cases, the burden of purchasing these expensive medications falls on patients who are unable to afford them.  Depending on the type of cancer, progression of the disease, and treatment protocols, many patients frequently require multiple drugs as well as multiple doses.   Most of these patients come from extremely poor socioeconomic circumstances, and finding funds for transportation is a challenge in itself.  The majority of these patients are not in a position to purchase expensive medications which lead to poor outcomes and at times even death.

Revive to Survive aims to identify patients in need at the National Cancer Institute in Sri Lanka, and will supply the required drugs.

Neupogen®

(Filgrastim) - A life saving drug that is not available most of the time.

Neupogen® is a human granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF), produced by recombinant DNA technology.  This drug helps improve a patient’s immune system which usually gets depressed due to chemotherapy.  Patients with depressed immunity, especially a depression of their neutrophil count (a type of blood cell needed to fight infections), frequently get life threatening bacterial infections that lead to hospitalizations and often death.  Neupogen helps to improve the patient’s neutrophil count rapidly and prevents these severe infections.  Although it is expensive, it is one of the lifesaving medications used extensively in pediatric patients.  However, due to its high cost, it is usually not available to most patients who end up with a poor outcome.

Neupogen comes as an injectable solution and the cost of a vial is around Rs.5800-6900 (approximately US$50-60).  It is usually given once or twice a day.  Based on the treatment protocols, patients will require treatment for 1-2 weeks after chemotherapy.

Any number of vials can be donated since the drug is not available most of the time.
 




Other Essential Needs

  • Bone Marrow Procedure Trays (Test Kits) -  A bone marrow procedure tray is required for each child with Hematological malignancies in order to minimize blood borne infection transmission such as Hepatitis B.  The cost of a bone marrow procedure tray is around Rs.5000-6000 (US$50-60).  Due to the high cost, these are reused around 20-25 times for the procedure during follow up of each child.  This results in a very high chance of contamination.  These trays are always in need.

  • Ports -  A port (or portacath) is a small medical appliance that is installed beneath the skin. A simple catheter connects the port to a vein. Under the skin, the port has a septum through which drugs can be injected and blood samples can be drawn many times, usually with less discomfort for the patient than a more typical "needle stick".Ports are commonly used mostly to treat hematology and oncology patients. This device is especially useful in children with cancers as their veins are very fragile. Without a port, young children can potentially get a large number of needlesticks during a course of treatment. Ports are usually inserted to the upper chest, just below the collar bone.