Making neonatal care affordable

PRID P T Prabhakar at the unveiling of neonatal diagnostic gadgets at the VHS Hospital along with (from left) RC Madras Metro Treasurer R Radhakrishnan; Project Coordinator S P M Shivakumar; PDG P T Ramkumar; Vinod Sarogi; Club President Sunder Natarajan; PP T Ravichandran; VHS Secretary Dr S Suresh; Dilip Bajaj; DG Babu Peram; Ramana Shetty; Roma Bajaj; and DRFC Suchitra Sagar.
PRID P T Prabhakar at the unveiling of neonatal diagnostic gadgets at the VHS Hospital along with (from left) RC Madras Metro Treasurer R Radhakrishnan; Project Coordinator S P M Shivakumar; PDG P T Ramkumar; Vinod Sarogi; Club President Sunder Natarajan; PP T Ravichandran; VHS Secretary Dr S Suresh; Dilip Bajaj; DG Babu Peram; Ramana Shetty; Roma Bajaj; and DRFC Suchitra Sagar.

Rotary has entered into an iron-clad, stamp paper agreement with the VHS Hospital, Chennai, while setting up the Rotary Central-TTK-VHS Blood Bank in 1995 that is still being cited by the RI Board at ­Evanston as a “model and successful partnership for a sustainable project,” said PRID P T Prabhakar.

Taking inspiration from the Rotary-TTK Blood Bank set up by his uncle P T Kasturi in Bengaluru in 1991, the PRID once again forged a strong alliance with the TTK group through a blood bank on the VHS campus. “While the land, equipment and other facilities were provided by my club RC Madras Central, the hospital ­contributed the staff and the expertise and the company took care of operational expenses by giving ₹50 lakh per annum.” He was addressing Rotarians, doctors and paramedics at the VHS after inaugurating a set of five high-tech neonatal equipment and an ambulance provided by RC Madras Metro, RID 3232, for the Maternity and Child Health Department at the Abhimanyu Block. “More than 12,000 units of blood are being transfused by the blood bank each year and the VHS founded by Dr K S Sanjivi, a social engineer par excellence, is living up to his ideals thanks to the contributions of Rtns Ramana Shetty, Dilip Bajaj and Dr S Suresh, secretary of the VHS Hospital,” said Prabhakar.

While the Abhimanyu Block costing ₹5 crore was funded by Ramana Shetty’s GK Shetty Charitable Trust and inaugurated by PRIP Kalyan Banerjee in March 2017, Bajaj had given $100,000 through his family trust Usha K Jolly Trust to TRF for a global grant of $158,000 in 2015–16. This gesture helped in sourcing medical equipment and furniture for the maternity and neonatal block.

In his address, DG Babu Peram said the 50-plus members of RC Madras Metro have excelled in a range of community projects over the decades and noted that their TRF contributions would reach the million dollars soon. The club has given $900,000 to the Foundation so far.

 

Finding global partner

With the newly inaugurated neonatal block in need of critical equipment, “we took up our second global grant project for which also Bajaj came forward to provide a Term Gift of $31,000 through his family trust. But we had to go for a global grant partner as the cost of equipment was much higher,” said PP T Ravichandran giving an overview of the project.

At this juncture, he learnt that Ray Caparros — with whom he struck a working relationship during his visit to Central Valley, California, as GSE leader in 2010 — was the governor of RID 5220. “More to my surprise, I found that PDG Dave Mantooth, one of my hosts during my GSE visit, was the member of the Global Grant Commission of this district.”

Within two hours of an e-mail, “I received a reply from Mantooth expressing interest in the project.” They have been doing similar ­projects in ­Guatemala, the Philippines and ­Mongolia. Thus RC Escalon ­Sunrise came forward to donate $5,000, while the home club (Madras Metro) pooled in $1,900 and TRF $4,800 to make the total project value of $43,000. The funds were used to buy critical care devices for neonates — Fetal Doppler (2 units); Anaesthesia workstation; Traze Duo (3 units) for measuring BP through non-invasive method and oxygen levels in blood; surgical diathermy; and Neopuff infant resuscitator (2 units).

The neonatal ambulance was bought for ₹17 lakh and the money was raised through a fundraiser, a stand-up comedy event held in November 2018. Project Chair S P M Shivakumar recalled that the club has done projects worth crores at the Cancer Institute in the last decade and, through the Abhimanyu Block, has committed a couple of global grant projects at the VHS too.

RC Madras Metro has 102 PHFs, seven Major Donors and one AKS member in Ram Sundaram. Bajaj announced that he is contributing ₹50 lakh each to club projects and the Foundation.

Club President Sundar Natarajan welcomed PRID Prabhakhar, DG Peram, donors Bajaj, Ramana Shetty and other Rotarians for the inaugural event at the Dr K S Sanjivi Hall.

 

Free screening of newborns

The VHS will offer free screening for newborns to detect abnormalities, said Dr Suresh. “With the cost of neonatal and paediatric care rising in recent times, some pregnant women who can’t afford the medical costs are going for abortions which is unfortunate. We can provide healthcare to newborns at a very affordable cost along with a free screening made possible with Dr ­Jayaraju Endowment Fund,” he said.

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