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Putting their best foot forward

IT was a double whammy for Prajapati Natwarlal when his right leg was amputated due to gangrene, a decade ago. He had lost his left leg after falling from a train in 1983.

When he lost his left leg 26 years ago, Prajapati decided to visit Sri Bhagwan Mahaveer Viklang Sahaytha Samithi in Jaipur to get an artificial leg. He was so impressed with the workshop, where these artificial limbs are made, that he requested the Samithi to train him in making them.

Today, with 22 years of experience as a technician, Prajapati has been travelling with the NGO’s camp, which provides Jaipur foot for free. “This is the greatest service I can do to the society. Every night I think that if I had not lost my legs, I would not have been able to make so many feet,” said the 45-year-old smilingly.

Incidentally, his 18-year-old son, who was not academically inclined, followed on his father’s footsteps.

Mega camp
On his first trip to Bangalore, Prajapati is one of the 18 technicians, at the 13th mega Jaipur limb camp. The camp started on Saturday and will continue till January 8. 

Organised by Rotary Bangalore Peenya along with the Samithi, this year’s camp has stocked up 800 Jaipur foot, 400 callipers, around 400 crutches, about 50 LN4 prosthetic hands, 125 wheelchairs and 125 tricycles for different forms of deformities.

G R Vasanth Kumar from the Rotary said that out of the total number of people who visited the camp, 40 per cent were from the neighbouring states of Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Maharashtra. “We first register the person and send him to the orthopaedic doctor. The doctor decides what kind of prosthetic implement would help him or her. In case, the patient has deformity caused by polio, a team of doctors from MS Ramaiah Hospital would register the person and fix an appointment for a corrective surgery free of cost,” he said. The organisers are hoping that at least 3,000 will visit the camp, compared to the 2,200 people who came last year.
Interestingly, the Samithi has also brought along a new model of prosthetic leg, Stanford Jaipur knee joint, which is more flexible than the present foot. “At least 600 people in Jaipur  received this foot since last year and we are following up on them. 

For this camp, we have brought 50 sets and hope to give it to young people who have to move around a lot,” said Omprakash Sharma, workshop manager of the Samithi. 

Those interested can visit V S Jain Sangha, Ganesh Bagh, No 9, Bhagawan Mahaveer Road (Infantry Road), near Shivajinagar bus stand. For details contact 93412 14915, 92431 98330, 98440 10558.

(Published in Deccan Herald on 4th January, 2010)


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