Reforming Several Addicted Lives, here’s how Sumedha Kushwaha’s ATTAC is Striving Hard for a Tobacco-free World.
31 December 2018
Tobacco is a curse for our society. The number of people dying because of tobacco consumption is increasing at an alarming rate. Although people are aware of the ill-effects of tobacco consumption, still they do not pay any heed to it. However, there are also few people who are completely unaware of the disastrous health consequences of tobacco consumption.
This is one of the major concerns in most of the Indian states where the majority of the population consumes tobacco; shockingly even children below 13 years of age are addicted to chewing tobacco. Steps have been taken by the government and also by the non-governmental volunteers in curbing the menace caused by the tobacco consumption. Sumedha Kushwaha a professional dentist is working very hard to make the country a tobacco-free nation with her initiative Aim to Terminate Tobacco and Cancer Society – “ATTAC” which was started in the year 2014.
Sumedha was born on 13th January 1990 in Hauz Khas; South Delhi completed her schooling from Apeejay School Noida. Then she did her BDS and MDS in Public Health Dentistry from ITS Dental College. After that, she did a short-term course in NGO Management and Global Tobacco Control post which she did a Fellowship with the School for Social Entrepreneurs.
A doting mother of a four-month-old baby boy and a loving wife, Sumedha is also a dental expert and a social entrepreneur. The idea to work for the society came very early; however, the inspiration somehow came later when she came across a young child who succumbed to cancer due to tobacco consumption. The child was unaware of the harmful effects of chewing tobacco which ultimately took his life. It was indeed a tough journey for Sumedha as her initiative was not accepted by most of the organizations.
Sumedha’s task involved helping the people come out of this addiction. But it was very difficult for her to make the people understand the evil side of tobacco consumption.
She says, “When I started ATTAC, I felt I in the middle of the sea.” There were patients whom she counselled but they took up tobacco again. Few of those patients started developing low-grade cancers but still continued consuming tobacco. Sumedha somewhere felt cheated and being lied by her patients because of which she started developing strong hateful feelings towards her patients, but she thought about the matter and dealt with such situations patiently. She thought that it was the hardcore addiction to tobacco which forced them to consume it time and again.
The team ATTAC works on three approaches. First, is the health-based camps where the beneficiaries are offered free medical health checkup. Till today, Sumedha and her team have conducted more than 300 such health activities which have positively touched the lives of 30,000 people. This was done by creating awareness regarding cancer and tobacco.
The second approach is the running of the Tobacco Cessation Centers where the patients are provided with brief counselling sessions. Till date, she and her team have opened three such centres in the city. Thirdly, they are offering the patients with low-cost affordable treatment which has made it easier for them to curb the tobacco menace.
With so much of achievement, the ATTAC team now has more than 200 members. Sumedha describes ATTAC as, “An attempt to aim to terminate tobacco and cancer from this world.”
Other than this, Sumedha is also a full-time employee at Health based Indo-US Company called UE Life Sciences which is into breast cancer, where she heads the division the Public Health. Also, she takes care of Yuvraj Singh Foundation’s ground health screening.
Sumedha also believes that people now use the term “women empowerment” according to their own convenience. She says,
“These women have no say in any life decision, they are beaten every day, they are slaves in reality. We need to work for them, uplift their lives and make them feel better.”
Her life mantra is, “Actual progress will only happen when you work for others”.
Helping the society to make it a better place to live in is what Sumedha and her team strive for. She urges the masses to at least try to help people who are addicted to chewing tobacco and make the world a safe and healthy one. For Sumedha, it has been an extremely difficult journey to convince people about the tobacco banes, but she gathered all the patience and courage she had in making people understand that how addiction could lead one to the trap of death.
Even after facing failure many times, Sumedha didn’t lose hope. For her, courage is to act and she did act, did everything to make people understand, without losing hope. Sumedha is rightfully a woman of courage as she has been successfully able to stride the path leading to an addiction-free society with her 200 members of ATTAC.
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