Restoring hearing in Kalmunai From Jaipur to Kalmunai in Sri Lanka, is quite a long journey. But this has not deterred Rotarians from Rajasthan to address the challenges of the hearing-impaired in this town.

Dr Vikrant Mathur treating a child at the ENT camp.
Dr Vikrant Mathur treating a child at the ENT camp.

Saraf was jubilant as he knew for the first time in his life what paddy smelt like. And this despite working in the field all his life. Suffering from a condition called Nasal Polyps, his nose was completely blocked with excess growth of tissue. He is now able to sleep normally for the first time in his life, breathing normally. Earlier it was only disturbed sleep that he got, breathing through his mouth.

Saraf and several others in Sri Lanka were treated for their medical conditions at an ENT Surgical Camp and VTT programme organised by the Rotarians of D 3052, Rajasthan, in association with D 3220, Sri Lanka, at Kalmunai, a town near Colombo.

The week-long camp screened 750 patients, of which 30 were surgically treated and 300 were provided with hearing aids after audiometry tests. Others were treated for various ENT infections. “The exercise was hugely beneficial for the patients here. There is a huge shortage of specialised ENT services in Sri Lanka. People from towns such as Kalmunai have to visit Colombo for treatment and the waiting time for surgeries is at least two years,” said Alaguraja, President of RC Kalmunai.

Team leader Gopal Sapra fixes hearing aid in a patient’s ear.
Team leader Gopal Sapra fixes hearing aid in a patient’s ear.

The Indian team comprising Team Leader Gopal Sapra, ENT surgeons Vikrant Mathur and Kuldeep Singh Rana, Audiology and Hearing Aid Specialist Priyanka Mathur and Anaesthesiologist IPS Suri, were selected by VTT Chair Ashok Gupta. They performed their magic at the Base Hospital in Kalmunai. While the camp was sponsored from the DDF of D 3052, the then DG Pradhuman Patni sponsored 50 hearing aids for the needy. The team carried with them a whole range of medical equipment and medicines needed for their mission.

“There were several instances that made us feel blessed to be there at Kalmunai, being able to restore hearing and speech for so many people,” said Dr Vikrant Mathur.  It was a poignant moment for him and his team to witness the pure happiness on Gayathri’s face when her six-year-old son responded to her voice for the first time, after they restored his hearing by surgically removing the glue in his ears. “Nor can we forget the bright toothless smile that broke out on the wrinkled yet animated face of 85-year-old Rajani when she could once again hear her 88-year-old husband speak with her, thanks to the hearing aid we fitted to cure her age-related hearing disability,” he added.

At the end of the week, as the team packed their bags for India, they gifted school bags to the children of Kalmunai, encouraging them to attend school.

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