Saving children, nurturing hopes...

Congenital concerns tug hearts at Rotary West; prominent city hospitals chip in to do their bit

saviors: (From left) C G Krishnan, V N Prasad, Vinod Rao, Dr K R Kamath and Rotary West President Sam Cherian. (Standing) Dr K S Kumar, Dr C Umesh Kamath, Dr Kushalappa and Sundaram. DH Photo

This is a project that deals with congenital problems and so far five children have undergone surgeries at Kamakshi Hospital for various critical problems and eleven children have been operated for eye problems at Usha Kiran Hospital.

Speaking to Deccan Herald president of Rotary West Sam Cherian said that the idea for this project came about seeing the higher child mortality especially in rural areas. It is observed that over 2,500 children, especially with congenital heart diseases such as inguinal hernia, blockage of intestine, blockage in urinary track, defects in duodenum die every month in India.

About one million children with CHD and the above defects are waiting for treatment.

“These corrective surgeries are known to be expensive and often parents are unable to accumulate the resources that will facilitate surgery. As a result they become mute spectators,” he said. When ‘Save A Child,’ project was announced, many philanthropists in corporate sectors opened their purses. The project has really caught on to such an extent that even the doctor who has performed the five surgeries, paediatric surgeon Dr K S Kumar has waived off 50 per cent of his fees, said Cherian.

The patients are identified depending on their economic background. “The surgeries are carried out on those children who are recommended by Rotary West after thorough screening. While  Usha Kiran’s Dr Ravishanker has volunteered to perform surgeries free of cost, Kamakshi Hospital has come forward to bear 20 per cent of the cost of surgeries.

The remaining will be born by the club. However, parents of the child undergoing surgery have to bear nominal charges of the surgery so they too  would become a part of the project,” said project coordinator C N G Krishnan.

Asked about challenging surgery that he has performed so far, Dr Kumar said, “ It was when a two month old child who still had not been christened, was brought to Kamakshi hospital. It was a Sunday and immediately we swung into action. The parents who hail from Holenarasipur were poor. Father Varadaraj is a driver. We examined the child and found that it had a blockage in the intestine.

Surgery had to be performed immediately, failing which the child  would not have survived. Since it was an emergency case, the committee gave clearance for surgery.The surgery was carried out and after keeping it in the MICU, it was discharged a couple  of days later.” Two out of every 1,500 births develop congenital problems. Many of the problems may not need immediate intervention as they are not life threatening like kidney problems which may require attention after 15 to 20 years. But heart problems cannot be postponed and it needs immediate attention, said Dr Kumar.

However, heart surgeries are not performed at Kamakshi Hospital and when there are genuine cases, it will be either referred to PSG hospital in Coimbatore or All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, said Cherian. Medical superintendent of Kamakshi Hospital Dr C Umesh Kamath said that congenital problems like cleft palate, eye disorders, imperforate anus, undescended testes, insuinal hernia, hare lip to name a few will be treated.

Administrator of Kamakshi Hospital Dr K R Kamath said that this was a charitable hospital where in deserving cases, the hospital had always come forward with concessions to the patients. The current managing trustee Vinod Rao has been instrumental in increasing the bed strength from 100 to 220, he added. The others who are involved in the project are Sunil Baliga, V N Prasad and S Sundaram. All of them are of the firm opinion that a project like ‘Save A Child,’ should be taken up by many more voluntary organisations and hospitals.

Those interested in contributing to the project, cheques may be drawn in favour of Secretary, Rotary West Charitable Trust. The account is opened in State Bank of Mysore and the account number is 54027434798.

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