PUNE: Cerebral Palsy (CP) is caused due to the occurrence of damage in the parts of the brain that control movement, balance and posture, and is a permanent movement disorder. It appears in the early childhood and the signs and symptoms vary from person to person. As per recent report, CP is the most common movement disorder in children and about 2.1 per 1000 babies suffer from it all over the world.
In India, three children out of 1000 suffer with this disorder and health experts have argued that they have average intelligence and should be included in the ambit of mainstream education.
FIL and its CSR partner Mukul Madhav Foundation (MMF) have been working diligently in the areas of healthcare, education and community welfare. Over the years, strong vision and determination has enabled them to touch thousands of lives, spread infinite smiles and promote a culture of giving. They believe helping people in times of need doesn’t just transform their lives but theirs as well.
Cerebral Palsy has been one of the closest projects that MMF has been relentlessly working on for the last couple of years. MMF strives for inclusion of CP patients into society in order to ensure that they and those who care for them live the best possible life under the peculiar circumstances in which they find themselves.
It all started in 2015 when MMF was then approached by the CEOof Satara, Maharashtra, Nitin Patil to come forward and support a very special cause. Their survey had identified 314 children who were diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy in the entire Satara district. With the policy of inclusive education, this district was encouraging children to come and attend schools. However due to poor infrastructure like unavailability of specially designed chairs etc, these kids weren’t able to attend schools. MMF took up this initiative and assured of any likely support.
Finolex and MMF straightaway decided to donate these chairs and began with a promise to give 100 Cerebral Palsy chairs. However, when the MMF team began door-to-door verification’s of these cases, they noticed the children needed it mostly at their homes, where they spent most hours of the day. Hence it was decided to go a step further by donating specially designed wheelchairs, imported from China, each costing around Rs. 15,500 along with portable commode chairs to each of these children at their homes.
Thus the process of distribution began in Dec 2015 and since then every month approximately 30 children have been covered under this project. Till date, Finolex and MMF have successfully donated 178 Wheelchairs and 104 commode chairs at homes and 100 Cerebral Palsy chairs at the Zila Parishad schools.
As this project gathered momentum, the team started visiting more places and they realized that these children were not receiving the required therapy and services to cure this disability. Infact, it was worsening their condition due to lack of services available in the district. It was appalling to know that for the entire Satara district, the Government had appointed only 1 physiotherapist! It was a major roadblock. Early in 2016, to help these patients, MMF began talks with local private practicing physiotherapists’and mobile teachers, which directed us towards the possibility of starting rehabilitation centres. Mission CP at FIL/MMF began its first in Wai, then Satara, Patan, Panchgani, Ratnagiri and Chiplun.
Thus began the long process of arranging & meeting specialist doctors to facilitate treatments for these special kids. MMF left no stone unturned to ensure that the children were not left in despair. MMF along with an expert team of doctors comprising of neurosurgeons, orthopedics, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, orthotics and optometrists from renowned hospitals of Pune such as Sancheti Hospital, Bharati Hospital, KEM Hospital, Deenanath Mangeshkar and H V Desai Eye Hospital conducted assessment camps and screened 309 children with Cerebral Palsy. Important to note here is that it was the first time all these hospitals came together for one common project.
These camps were conducted in the talukas of Wai, Mahableshwar, Satara, Karad, Koregaon, Khandala, Phaltan, Maan, Khatav, Jawali and Medha.Post these camp. In critical cases, patients were treated in Sancheti hospital and FIL and MMF shared the cost to the tune of 80%, while Sancheti Hospital voluntarily offered discounted rates. After surgeries, these children were in need of continuous physiotherapy sessions and hence Finolex & MMF decided to open rehabilitation centres at each taluka.
They inaugurated their first rehabilitation centre at Mirajkar Hospital, Wai, on the 15th of July 2016. A team of 3 physiotherapists from Sancheti Hospital, Pune, travelled for 2 days every fortnight to conduct physiotherapy sessions for these children. On an average, 10-15 children took regular physiotherapy sessions at this centre. A second Rehabilitation Centre was opened in Panchgani Municipal School.
Currently, there are six Physiotherapy centers- Wai, Satara, Patan, Panchgani, Ratnagiri, Chiplun which conduct these sessions periodically. This enables children living in and around these regions to benefit from these centres. Till date, 4 Assessment camps have been held at Satara, Patan, Wai, Ratnagiri, and 28 surgeries done. As the next step, in continuance with the existing centres, the company is planning to take this project further to other districts and is looking to help the children identified obtain disability certificates so that they can avail benefits under government schemes.
Mukul Madhav Foundation also donates orthotic devices such as crutches, special shoes and walkers to children as per the diagnosis and recommendation of the doctors. The company also conceptualized and sponsored a show on AIR titled HaunslaAageBadneKa which aired for 3 continuous weeks. The show provides tips to parents on how to deal with the condition, what all services should be given to a child with this condition. Expert opinions, feedback and experiences are also shared as a part of the show.
Part of its ongoing mission, MMF hasalso extended support to two girls, Priyanka Indalkar (19) and Ms.Arpita Shevde (16), from Satara taluka to make them self-dependent and boost their confidence. A special mention of them here as they have completed a circle of assessment, treatment, operation, and physiotherapy. They have been provided orthotics and now are earning. While Priyanka was assisted in establishing a petty shop to sell stationery, cosmetics, and snacks; Aprita was provided a sewing machine. It also assisted in opening their individual bank accounts. These children are now happier, independent and live more joyful lives filled with hope.
Today, MMF is happy to acknowledge that 772 children with CP are being effectively treated and this is just the beginning!
Reader can find more about the project here: http://www.mmpc.in/healthcare.html