The story of little Raghav, who was facing death in February 2011, is heartrending. The four-year-old child had damaged his neck bone in an accident and was at a risk of permanent paralysis. After multiple surgeries he was discharged but needed extra help. When he enrolled at the AN Chaturvedi Rotary Physiotherapy Centre, his head was dropping and he couldn’t look up. “His t-shirt would be always wet as the saliva kept dripping from his mouth. Thanks to the doctors and physiotherapist here, today he can look at me straight and I don’t have to carry a towel to wipe his mouth constantly,” says his mother wiping her tears.
Sponsored by RC Kankaria, D 3051, the club, chartered as RC Vejalpur, is now called RC Ahmedabad West. With no pucca meeting place, the Rotarians met regularly under the trees of Unnati Primary School’s garden, “and one such meeting resulted in the establishment of this physiotherapy centre,” says club member Jayvant Kamdar. Earlier patients had to travel nearly 8 km to a nearby town for treatment.
Named after its highest donor, the physiotherapy centre boasts of a 250,000 strong database and sees nearly 7,000 new patients every year. Club President Alkesh Patil attributes the centre’s popularity to the dedicated team of doctors, assistants and administrators. Dr Namratha, the chief physiotherapist recalls an incident where a girl whose right hand had almost been paralysed was rushed in. “Her father came in crying and told us that the girl had her board exam in two hours.” This was a challenge as time was limited. After one and a half hours of therapy the girl was able to move her hand. The delighted father donated the much-needed laser equipment to the centre.
“Soon word spread about this excellent centre and now patients come here through doctors’ reference and recommendation,” says Rtn Prem Bomb, who adds that many Rotarians, despite their business interests, give time to this centre on a daily basis.
Since the place is young and vibrant it is also popular as ‘the place’ to work at. “If you are a young physio, you know you are going to get quality training here. I only treat back pain, another physiotherapist treats shoulder problems and we are allowed to also consult at back and shoulder clinics. That is a bonus for us at the professional level,” says a junior therapist.
The 26-year-old club is involved in a variety of welfare projects; its literacy programme in the slums has earned it the name: sadkon ke shiqshaq (roadside educators).