Our Founder

Dr Sumita Prabhakar

Ever since I was young, I knew I wanted to be a doctor. But medicine, for me, wasn’t just about treating illness; it was about empowering women to take charge of their health. This journey, that began over 27 years ago, has led me down some incredible paths, filled with challenges and moments of immense joy.

My educational foundation was strong, with an MBBS and MD (OBS & GYN) from Banaras Hindu University. Later, I qualified with FRCOG (London) and FIMCH, honing my skills and expanding my knowledge base. While I initially worked abroad, the call to serve my own community grew stronger. Returning to India, I was deeply troubled by the lack of awareness and access to preventive healthcare, especially for women in rural areas. Witnessing cases of breast and cervical cancer, where early detection could have made a world of difference, fueled my determination to make a change.

In 2015, I founded the Can Protect Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to bridging this gap. We started by organizing free health camps for women. These camps offered clinical breast exams and, recognizing the need for more advanced solutions, we became the first organization in 2018 to launch Free of Cost Thermo Mammography services in Northern India. Taking this portable machine to remote areas of Uttarakhand, we brought potentially life-saving screenings directly to the doorsteps of vulnerable communities. We then expanded our mobile services to include colposcopy and FDA-approved iBreast exams. These comprehensive health camps offered free gynecological checkups, blood pressure checks, diabetes screenings, and osteoporosis tests, providing a holistic approach to women’s well-being.

But awareness and screenings were just part of the equation. Through targeted campaigns like “Asha Ki Kiran,” we trained ASHA and ANM workers, the backbone of rural healthcare, to perform and teach breast self-examination. Empowering these women became our way of multiplying our reach and creating a network of champions in their communities. Similarly, the “Meri Maa Swasth Maa” workshops fostered open communication within families by educating young children about their mothers’ health. This program instilled a sense of responsibility in them, promoting preventive healthcare from a young age.

The arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 forced us to adapt. With our free health camps on hold, we turned our focus to digital solutions. This led to the development of Canapp, the world’s first regional language app for Breast Cancer Awareness. This app breaks down language barriers, empowering women with knowledge in their own tongue and promoting the importance of self-examination.

My journey hasn’t been without its challenges. But the recognition – the IMA Doctor Achievement Award, the Health Icon Award, and countless others – fuel my passion even further. Being featured among Uttarakhand’s Medical Pillars in 2018 was a humbling experience, a testament to the impact we’re making.

This is just the beginning. Our vision at Can Protect Foundation is to create a world where every woman has access to quality healthcare and the knowledge to protect herself. There are more women to reach, more lives to impact, and I, along with the incredible team at Can Protect, am determined to make a difference, one step, one life, at a time.

Dr Sumita Prabhakar