A Rotary Club of Mapuca Jaipur foot camp at Rugnashray: Learning to walk again with a prosthesis and gratitude!

By Our Special Correspondent

YOU would be surprised how many folk can do with a Jaipur foot! All kinds of folk get into trouble with their feet from those who do labor jobs at construction sites or climb trees to harvest coconuts or meet with a tragic accident with machines in an industrial shed. If you know anyone who’s in need of a Jaipur foot (to replace a foot which has been amputated for various reasons) send them to the Rotary Club of Mapuca which has been facilitating this project since 1997.
They have been facilitating the project over 20 years through health camps and most patients are needy patients whose lower limbs are in trouble. Over the years they have assisted more than 2,000 patients from Canacona to Pernem, from Calangute to Mollem to get fitted with a Jaipur foot or prosthesis. The last camp was held in September last year at Rugnashraya in Bambolim. The Persistent Foundation’s HR head Nadia Fernandes has partnered with the Rotary Club of Mapuca in this program consistently.
According to Ashley Delaney (secretary and cycling consultant of the Rotary Club of Mapuca) the club has a Rotarians@Work program in which Rotarian senior members like Mangeshrao Kulkarni, past-president Pradeep Ghadi Amonkar, current president Ajay Menon and others take a keen interest. It was Mr Kulkarni who initiated the Jaipur foot project in Goa after he was inspired by a similar program being facilitated by the Rotary Club of Kolhapur during a visit sometime 1997-98.
The Goa Medical College in any case had already started Ward No.16 long back to facilitate the project of providing useful prosthesis limbs to patients in need of them. Most patients in need of a Jaipur foot are now directed to the Rotary Club of Mapuca and needless to say patients are mostly from the migrant labor community from outside the state, and also Goan patients.
The Jaipur foot provision is located at Rugnashray building located near the GMC. In fact, the Rugnashray Patient Assistant Centre at a corner of the huge GMC OPD hall is one of the most useful places to call at for quick assistance in anything – some volunteers are always seated here to help out patients in need of information about GMC services or where various departments are located. Patients’ relatives looking for a place to stay are also guided here for there are rooms available at Rugnashray. When a patient is admitted for treatment at the GMC, relatives in attendance are usually anxious to find decent shelter nearby which is within their humble budget.
Rugnashray was set up in 2007 to be a temporary home away from home for those in need and one may take ten to 15 minutes of walking to get there from the GMC. Here are assorted single and dormitory rooms of six/four/three beds available with nominal fees of Rs100 to Rs200 per bed/per night. Needless to say the accommodation and facilities come in very useful for patients’ relatives or patients themselves who may be in need of convalescence for a few days before further treatment.
Rugnashray also provides medical equipment such as ortho bed, wheelchair, walker, crutches, and these are provided on use and return basis to patients in need. The physiotherapy center at Rugnashray was set up by the Rotary Club of Panaji Midtown in 2010 and it is from here that a permanent center for the Jaipur foot or artificial foot prosthesis project operates. A permanent resident here is craftsman Maruti Patil from Kolhapur, he is an expert craftsman-technician in making Jaipur foot prosthesis. He measures and fits patients with their prosthesis. All courtesy moral and financial support from Rotary Club of Mapusa.
Amongst the benefactors is Nadia Fernandes of IT firm Persistence Systems (Verna) who has been particularly generous and over the last few years sponsored about 100 Jaipur foot patients. There are various kinds of prosthesis but they usually fall in two variations: either below the knee prosthesis, or above the knee prosthesis, and costs vary naturally. Once fitted with a Jaipur foot patients have to be rehabilitated into walking practice and maintenance of their prosthesis. It’s truly a moment of wonderment when a patient young or old learns to walk anew with their new foot!
Other useful programs run by Rugnashray are a home patient nursing school. They have their own ambulance donated by Rotary Club Panaji-Midtown and a canteen is attached to the building premises providing whatever is required by way of refreshments to patients at minimal rates. Rugnashray is managed by Anuradha Ganoo and there is Anil Bhaskar Mahabal who amongst other duties supervises the running of the Sahavata Home Care Nursing School for girls which is based here.
Other Rugnashray committee members are Vidya Sardessai, Kamini Kundaikar, Dipali Naik, Ashok Shenavi Dessai, Raghunandan Samant, Suresh Mandrekar, Shankar Vadkar, Ravindra Kambali, Sarita Naik. Their work at Rugnashray and parent body Matruchaya is totally charitable. Matruchaya also runs an orphanage for girls and a new wing for boys is underway. For information email rugnashraya09@gmail.com

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