A spirited and enthusiastic personal who has contributed enormously in making India Polio free. Raman Bhatia Past Governor, Rotary International D- 3011 and Operation Committee Member, India National Polio Plus Committee, R.I has now pulled up his socks in taking the challenge of reachingout and treating every child affected with clubfoot deformity. In a candid interview with CURE International India, he lays emphasis on how they were able to fight back polio and today have come to a stage where India is certified by WHO as ‘Polio Free India’. Now when he is associated with clubfoot program in India, his hopes are high to eradicate the disability caused by clubfoot in India, Excerpts from an interview.
Your contribution in the eradication of polio from the country is tremendous. How do you see the country today when it comes to polio? Has the percentage of polio affected children gone down?
Well I did my bit for the success of the polio program, I can’t call it a tremendous effort. I just did my best. Over thelast 22 years I have consistently followed the program and helped it reach to a logical conclusion of ‘POLIO FREE INDIA’ as one of the many volunteers working for this cause. Since January 2011 not a single case of Wild Polio Virus has been detected in the country. We were certified in 2014 by WHO as a Polio Free Country. We are doing our best to ensure that childrencoming to us are supported and guided to make them lead a dignified and happier life.
Now that you are associated with clubfoot program, how do you plan to reach out to the last child affected with this disability?
Each and every child affected with Clubfoot Disability can be reached only if each of the 600 Revenue Districts have a functional Orthopaedics Department in the Civil/Govt. Hospital where a weekly clubfoot clinic is duly supported by CURE and Rotary and is run efficiently and effectively. Awareness of this problem and treatment available must be spread through ASHA/Anganwadi Workers and they should report every case of Clubfoot to the Civil/District hospital for treatment.
Presence of clubfoot clinic is in almost every state. How do you plan to have a steering committee in very districts of the country alike polio?
In Polio Rotary International had made a National Committee in India which was coordinating the work of nearly 30 Rotary Districts in India and, over 3500 Rotary Clubs (120,000 members/volunteers). Unless something on these lines are done, I don’t think we can get all Rotary Clubs/Districts on board.
What do you think is the key to make India a clubfoot free India?
You can’t talk about making India Clubfoot ‘Free’. In India 50,000 children are born with this defect every year. The backlog of children is growing year after year. The word ‘Free’ is a misnomer. You can at best say, ‘how to reach and treat every child born with this defect’. If we do that, we can only then claim to be successful.
Every child affected with Clubfoot Disability can be reached only if each of the 600 Revenue Districts have a functional Orthopaedics Department in the Civil/Govt. Hospital where a weekly clubfoot clinic is duly supported by CURE and Rotary and is run efficiently and effectively.