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03 Dec 2022, Edition - 2699, Saturday

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RASTRA providing a backbone of support

Covai Post Network


The vast majority of spinal cord injury patients are from a low socio-economic background and more than 80 per cent of them are males below the age of 40 who are the breadwinners of the family. Vocational training is essential to get them back to a new or previous work, Frederick Wilson, Secretary, Rotary Club of Coimbatore Saicity, says.

Under RASTRA, patients undergo a structured rehabilitation programme and vocational training over a period of two months to gain confidence and the skills needed for an independent living,” Frederick Wilson, said.

Rotary Aid for Spinal Treatment and Rehabilitation (RASTRA) is a combined project of Rotary Club of Coimbatore Saicity and Ganga Hospital, for patients with Spinal Cord Injury (SCI). Spinal cord injury causes a complete or incomplete paralysis of all function in the limbs below the level of injury. Rehabilitation is the only hope to provide such victims with new skills to cope with their disability.

This project allows patients to undergo a structured rehabilitation and vocational training for a period of one or two months. A team of doctors, physiotherapists, occupational therapist, social workers and other rehabilitation professionals from Ganga Hospital are currently providing this service.

The aim of this project is to give an opportunity for the financially weaker patients who suffer from SCI to gain confidence. This project also provides such patients the skills so that they can live an independent life. The vocational training integrates them into the work force and the financial benefits will help them meet their needs. The patient’s relatives or caretakers also receive vocational training.

The project bears all the costs from the start of the rehabilitation until the patient is discharged. The beneficiaries will also be provided with callipers, exercise equipment, wheelchair and other aids as per their need. The project has transformed the lives of several patients and their families. The average cost of rehabilitation for each patient is Rs. 1 lakh and 60 per cent cost is covered by Rotary Saicity, while 40 per cent by Ganga Hospital.

“The Saicity and Ganga Hospital teams are very committed to providing this service and we aim to rehabilitate 50 patients a year. Anyone who is below the poverty line and sustain a spinal cord injury will be considered under this project,” Frederick says.

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