It has been more than two weeks since 8-year old Pratiksha had her skin-transplant surgery at Hospital and Rehabilitation Center for Disabled Children (HRDC) in Banepa. Ever since her surgery Pratiksha has been lying on her belly and manages shy smiles to visitors before hiding under blanket or on her mother’s lap.
Narmata, 58, says her youngest daughter wants to recover soon so that she can run and play with friends in the hospital. However, with her bandages and doctor’s strict order she is just lying restless waiting for the day when she is allowed to play as much as she likes.
Pratiksha, from Sima village of Morawang VDC, is suffering from spinal deformity. Her life has been at risk as her spinal is affecting her lung causing less oxygen needed for her brain and body. Her left side of the Scapula and Ilium is touching each other. This has resulted in her body bent towards left side with shorter leg and lack of normal body growth. Dr. Ishida Ryk, a Japanese doctor who has been stationed at Thawang Health Center, Rolpa, believes it might take more than 3 operations for her to have her health back to normal.
She was not born with spinal deformity. “It was after a week of birth she got a rash on her back. When it got infected and worsened we took her to see doctors in Rukumkot,” Narmata, mother of 7 children recalls. It was with luck there was a mobile health camp set by French voluntary doctors at that time. They didn’t only check her but also financially supported the family to take Pratiksha for further treatment in Nepalgunj Medical College Teaching Hospital. However, as she was just about a month old doctors felt it was riskier to operate.
“They gave us ointments for infection and asked us to return after few months,” Namrata says. By the time they were back to Sima, the infection seemed to have healed leaving small marks. The Roka family didn’t feel necessary to take her for further check-ups especially when they learned that mobile health camp had already left and the doctor in Nepalgunj was not there.
From a poor agricultural background and with many mouths to feed Pratiksha’s parents became busier, her health took a backseat. It was only after years, gravity of her deteriorating health started to be noticeable. The small mark on her back had grown bigger. Her left side of a body had bent in such a way that her shoulder’s scapula and hip’s Ilium touched each other.
Namrata remembers Pratiksha complaining of pain whenever she walked. But they didn’t have means to take her to hospital. “I realized, in old age, neither our body supports us to work for earning nor our mind allows to resort in stealing,” she explains her challenges.
It became easier to seek for assistance when Dr. Ishida set health camp in Jhumlawang Community Health Center. He declared Pratiksha’s case one of the rarest and recommended for operation as soon as possible. He assisted through his networking and expertise to admit her in HRDC. He has also been assisting financially for Pratiksha’s operation.
In hard times, finding helping hands was like finding God to look after her daughter, says Namrata. “I don’t know how long it is going to take her to be able to run as she dreams of but these supports we are getting from kind and generous people gives me hope for better days for my daughter.”
The next operation is yet to be decided. But, Pratiksha’s desire to run and her mother’s hope for better days for her makes optimistic environment for everyone involved. “JVF family will be supporting in her journey of recovery in any way possible,” International Co-ordinator Kush Budha said.
1st June 2014