It was a proud moment for members of RC Puttur, RID 3181, when its dream project, a dialysis centre, was inaugurated by Union chemicals and fertilisers minister D V Sadananda Gowda in the presence of DG Ranganath Bhat, local politicians and past district governors on Feb 20 this year.
Rotarians were shaken when their colleague, who graduated from Rotaract, suffered a kidney failure in 2016 and passed away at 49 despite undergoing dialysis at a private hospital in Mangalore. First, he approached a government taluk hospital in Puttur, but it had limited dialysis units which were already overbooked. Then he tried his luck at a private hospital, but in vain. “Hence, he had no choice but travel to Mangalore with a companion, wait for his turn, undergo dialysis, return home and recover. He had to endure it twice a week losing two working days. His income dwindled, expenses shot up and health deteriorated,” said Rtn N Shrikanth Kolathaya, a club member. After his demise, the club members made a resolve to do something to help people suffering from kidney ailments in and around this town.
A godsend PDG
However, the club was unable to immediately work on the dialysis project for at that time, “we were preoccupied with the implementation of a cell separator system, an upgrade for our Rotary-Campco Blood Bank at a cost of around ₹1 crore,” he said.
Luckily, a chance meeting with PDG Vinayak Kudva from the US at a fellowship meet gave the club members a good opportunity to take up their pet project of dialysis centre with him. Kudva was the one who got the matching partner for the cell separator project and when he asked, “what next?” the Rotarians chorused “dialysis unit”. He readily said, “go ahead”.
In an initial study, they found that around 60 patients were regularly travelling to Mangalore, about 52km from Puttur, due to lack of dialysis facilities in this town. When the club thought of setting up the facility at the local government hospital, they found the supply and running of machines were outsourced. Past president Dr Ashok Padival offered space at his hospital, Mahaveer Medical Centre, and the club, with the support of matching donor, RC New Tampa Noon, US, RID 6890, set up the dialysis centre at a cost of `50 lakh, along with contributions from members and district fund. The facility has a capacity to do 250 dialysis a month. “We have tied up with A J Hospital and Research Centre (Mangalore) for the smooth running of the dialysis facility. We offer concessions from our charitable trust to BPL card holders and poor patients,” said Kolathaya.
The club has got rich experience of running a blood bank and has 15 doctors working in five multi-specialty hospitals as members. In the near future, the club is keen to flag-off a blood donation vehicle and cardiac care ambulance to provide quality healthcare to needy patients who can’t access medical services.