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July 30, 2001 - July 30, 2001

Villages being scanned for more blinded persons Monday, July 30, 2001

A STAFF REPORTER, THE TIMES OF INDIA NEWS SERVICE
AHMEDABAD: In its bid to investigate deeper into the Sadvichar Parivar Eye Hospital tragedy where 22 people were blinded in one eye after undergoing cataract surgery, the state government medical teams are combing through villages to follow up on cases of the remaining 11 patients who had undergone surgery at the hospital earlier this month.

"Three patients have been traced so far of which one man is also found to have contracted infection and stands a 50-50 chance of losing eyesight," a senior health official informed on Saturday.

Health secretary S K Nanda said that teams have been directed to investigate not only into what went into the surgeries at the level of the hospital and operating instruments and medical material used, but to also dig deep into the medical history of the patients and whether or not these technical details were taken care of prior to doing the cataract surgeries.

"The idea is to use this incident to develop a framework for regulatory guidelines as to what should be the "do's and dont's" while performing eye surgeries at a mass or camp level. Once the framework is ready, it would be possible to ensure that the trusts and the hospital follow certain quality standards while performing eye surgeries," Nanda said.

Meanwhile, the Nationalist Youth Congress (NYC) has demanded that all 22 patients who have been blinded be given a cash compensation of Rs 1 lakh each.

NYC state secretary Bhavarsingh Rajpurohit on Saturday said that the Youth Congress cadres will demonstrate outside the state Legislative Assembly on Monday to protest against injustice done to the 22 people. "The old people have been meted great injustice in the name of subsidised medical service, and demanded that every patient who has lost his or her eye be given a compensation of Rs 1 lakh each.

NYC has demanded strict disciplinary action against the hospital. "The state government on its part should expedite the inquiry into the tragedy that claimed eyes of 22 innocent people and initiate strict disciplinary action against the hospital to avert a similar tragedy in the future," Rajpurohit demanded.

Almost 33 patients stand to lose their eyesight after the eye operated for cataract at the Sadvichar Parivar Hospital developed acute scpeticemia.

The hospital authorities have tried to wash their hands off the tragedy by laying all blame on R L Irrigating Solution manufactured by Wokhardt. "There is no negligence or lapse on the part of the hospital. The infection has happened because of contaminated RL solution," managing trustee of Sadvichar Parivar Haribhai Panchal said.

The state government has instituted a four-member inquiry committee into the tragedy to investigate in detail as to what has caused the loss of eye in such a large number of patients. The food and drugs commissioner has also confiscated samples of the solutions used during the surgeries and are running a 14-day sterility test on the RL as well as another visco-elastic fluid to ascertain whether the infection has been spread by the same or not.

News Source : Times Of India News Service [ Lightning News ]


RELATED NEWS - 33 lose partial vision after cataract operation

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BBA members ask for immediate setting up of DRT Monday, July 30, 2001

A STAFF REPORTER, THE TIMES OF INDIA NEWS SERVICE
VADODARA: The Baroda Bar Association members have threatened to embark on an agitation if the state government does not start the 'Debt Recovery Tribunal' (DRT) in Vadodara soon.

At present, Ahmedabad is the only centre in Gujarat where the DRT functions. However, the Union ministry of finance had sanctioned several new centres to be opened in various parts of the country including Vadodara a few years ago, said BBS president Narendra Tiwari.

According to Tiwari, judges and official staff for the DRT have been appointed but the DRT is not yet functional in Vadodara as the state government has yet to decide on a place for it to be set up at.

"The DRT in Vadodara was sanctioned by the Centre, but now the state government is delaying the operation of the centre as there are vested interests amongst the politicians and the Ahmedabad lawyers who stand to lose if it is started here," he says.

According to him, lawyers in Ahmedabad would lose out to clients as almost 60 per cent cases in the DRT in Ahmedabad come from Vadodara as this is an industrial centre. "Once the DRT becomes operational, lawyers here would get employment while those in Ahmedabad might lose out. But the litigants here stand to benefit as they would not have to travel to Ahmedabad," he said.

"If the state government has the will, there is enough office space that can be made available for setting up the DRT. But the problem is that there is no will. If the government does not initiate steps to solve this problem soon, all BBA members plan to launch an agitation," he added.

News Source : Times Of India News Service [ Lightning News ]


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State gearing for Olympics for the differently-abled Monday, July 30, 2001

A STAFF REPORTER, The Times of India News Service
VADODARA: The state is preparing for an extraordinary event to be held in 2003-the world Abilympics or 'Olympics of Abilities of Differently-Abled Persons'. The state has begun selecting candidates for the regional selection round in November this year.

According to Prabha Mehta of Disha, a city-based organisation working for people with disability, a national-level selection will be held in New Delhi between November 26 and 30, 2002. Mehta is one of the vice-presidents nominated by the National Abilympics Association of India (NNAI) to conduct abilympics in the western region which includes Gujarat, Maharashtra and Goa. The other vice-president from the region is director (training) at the Blind People's Association, Ahmedabad, Harish Panchal.

Disha and Blind People's Association will select candidates for participation in the national and then the sixth international Abilympics which is being hosted by India with financial and infrastructure support from the Union ministry of human resource development and the ministry of social justice and empowerment.

"Abilympics, held every fourth year internationally, began with the one in Japan in 1981. These contests of vocational skills provide a new dimension to the range of competitive events which persons with disabilities can perform. The purpose of Abilympics is to improve vocational skills of persons with disability and to promote their employment opportunities," says Mehta.

Disha and the Blind People's Association are scouting for talent who would be tested at a regional level and then sent for the national selection. "We have asked various organisations working with the disabled and the non-institutionalised disabled. People can contact us at our office on 320, Race Course Towers on Gotri Road or mail us on dishatrust@icenet.net," says Mehta.

Competitors will be taking part in more than 40 events, including PC assembly, computer programming, creating web pages, ceramics, cane technology, dress and jewellery making, handicrafts like tie and dye or block printing, photography, wood carving and painting.

News Source : Times Of India News Service [ Lightning News ]


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Stephanie Cook bowled over by Kutchis' resilience Monday, July 30, 2001

TRIDIV VAIDYA, THE TIMES OF INDIA NEWS SERVICE
BHUJ: There is something athletic about this tall, blonde woman moving around in the villages of quake-hit Kutch with a medical kit in hand. There is a spring in her step and youthful energy which is quite striking.

She is none other than the Sydney Olympic champion in the modern pentathlon event, Stephanie Cook. She has also won the World Championship and the European Championship recently held in London and Hungary respectively.

Stephanie is quite a celebrity back home in Britain, particularly after she won the gold medal for modern pentathlon at the Sydney Olympics 2000.

For the people of Kutch, she is just one of those white-skinned doctors who have been moving around with relief teams ever since the quake struck.

A qualified surgeon, Stephanie has been travelling in Kutch for the past week supervising the project undertaken by the Medical Emergency Relief International (Merlin), a UK-based relief outfit. The spring in her step comes only naturally as she excels in a sport which includes five disciplines-shooting, fencing, swimming, equestrian (show jumping) and long-distance running (3000 metres).

Stephanie has completed her studies and on returning to London from Kutch will begin her career in medicine in a small town south-west of London.

Cook says she started taking modern pentathlon seriously in the year 1994, but the fascination for the item was there right from childhood. She was very fond of horse riding and her sister Vanessa helped her a lot in those days.

"But my childhood was a tale of misery and pain as my father and mother obtained a divorce when I was just 12. What I find remarkable in Kutch is this concept of joint family where everybody is united in this hour of crisis and is trying to help each other," she remarks.

After her parents' divorce, Stephanie remained with her mother, who encouraged her to develop her skills.

"My performance in Sydney as well as in Hungary and London was watched by my father and mother, but even then there are no chances of a reunion between them", she laments.

Besides a bachelors degree in medicine and surgery, she has also done her masters in anthropology.

Stephanie says she wants to create awareness among the people in Britain about NGOs' role in changing the lives of millions world-wide. She will also help Merlin raise funds for the ongoing project of in Kutch.

A Merlin activist, Arjun, says Stephanie's presence in Kutch has been a great help. It will also help fund-raising efforts in UK for relief programmes not only in Kutch but also in Surendranagar district where the organisation is running medical centres out of pre-fabricated structures.

Casually clad in a grey T-shirt and denim jeans Stephanie has already gone around the villages of Damanka, Ambasar, Bhadroi, Budhar Mora, Chandrani and Devisar around Anjar and Bhachau. Stephanie says she is impressed by the manner in which Kutchis have put their lives together after the devastation six months back. "I am sure when I get back to Britain I will have a lot of stories to tell about the fascinating people of Kutch," she says.

News Source : Times Of India News Service [ Lightning News ]


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Stephanie Cook bowled over by Kutchis' resilience Monday, July 30, 2001

TRIDIV VAIDYA, THE TIMES OF INDIA NEWS SERVICE
BHUJ: There is something athletic about this tall, blonde woman moving around in the villages of quake-hit Kutch with a medical kit in hand. There is a spring in her step and youthful energy which is quite striking.

She is none other than the Sydney Olympic champion in the modern pentathlon event, Stephanie Cook. She has also won the World Championship and the European Championship recently held in London and Hungary respectively.

Stephanie is quite a celebrity back home in Britain, particularly after she won the gold medal for modern pentathlon at the Sydney Olympics 2000.

For the people of Kutch, she is just one of those white-skinned doctors who have been moving around with relief teams ever since the quake struck.

A qualified surgeon, Stephanie has been travelling in Kutch for the past week supervising the project undertaken by the Medical Emergency Relief International (Merlin), a UK-based relief outfit. The spring in her step comes only naturally as she excels in a sport which includes five disciplines-shooting, fencing, swimming, equestrian (show jumping) and long-distance running (3000 metres).

Stephanie has completed her studies and on returning to London from Kutch will begin her career in medicine in a small town south-west of London.

Cook says she started taking modern pentathlon seriously in the year 1994, but the fascination for the item was there right from childhood. She was very fond of horse riding and her sister Vanessa helped her a lot in those days.

"But my childhood was a tale of misery and pain as my father and mother obtained a divorce when I was just 12. What I find remarkable in Kutch is this concept of joint family where everybody is united in this hour of crisis and is trying to help each other," she remarks.

After her parents' divorce, Stephanie remained with her mother, who encouraged her to develop her skills.

"My performance in Sydney as well as in Hungary and London was watched by my father and mother, but even then there are no chances of a reunion between them", she laments.

Besides a bachelors degree in medicine and surgery, she has also done her masters in anthropology.

Stephanie says she wants to create awareness among the people in Britain about NGOs' role in changing the lives of millions world-wide. She will also help Merlin raise funds for the ongoing project of in Kutch.

A Merlin activist, Arjun, says Stephanie's presence in Kutch has been a great help. It will also help fund-raising efforts in UK for relief programmes not only in Kutch but also in Surendranagar district where the organisation is running medical centres out of pre-fabricated structures.

Casually clad in a grey T-shirt and denim jeans Stephanie has already gone around the villages of Damanka, Ambasar, Bhadroi, Budhar Mora, Chandrani and Devisar around Anjar and Bhachau. Stephanie says she is impressed by the manner in which Kutchis have put their lives together after the devastation six months back. "I am sure when I get back to Britain I will have a lot of stories to tell about the fascinating people of Kutch," she says.

News Source : Times Of India News Service [ Lightning News ]


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