When Rotarians dare to reach the unreached

By Mohan Kumar K V, member of the Rotary Club of Bangalore Prime, India

It was 23 March 2020. I returned from a discussion in Chandigarh, India on conducting a limb camp, a one-day event to provide free prosthetic limbs to people in need. Our first national lockdown for 21 days was declared the following day. Our journey of uncertainty in the pandemic started with this, and all the limb camps were put on hold due to government advisories.

Initiated in September 2019, a camp to distribute LN-4 prosthetic hands, a type of low-cost, light, durable, and functional prosthetic, had to be postponed several times due to the pandemic. On 25 July 2021, we were able to hold the camp in Kadiri, a municipality city in Anantapuram District, State of Andhra Pradesh. We met the local officials and agreed to comply with all COVID-19 protocols and received written permission to hold the camp from the government.

Rotarian volunteers travelled from the states of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, and Gujarat. The local Rotary club took precautions, including holding the camp in an open space to promote cross ventilation. All the beneficiaries underwent a COVID-19 Risk Assessment and a Rapid Antigen Test and reported their vaccination status prior to them reaching the camp venue. All beneficiaries tested negative and were able to receive prosthetic hands, although precautionary plans were in place in case anyone tested positive. With over 128 happy recipients, we were quite ecstatic having overcome a very daunting challenge.

During these camps, beneficiaries are fitted for a prosthetic and then receive training to use and maintain it. Following the event, they receive on-going support by phone and at more than 25 permanent centers located across India run by Rotarians or at hospitals.

Prior to the pandemic, for two continuous years, we conducted an average of 48 limb camps each Rotary year with an average of 4,500-5,000 beneficiaries per year across India. These camps play an important role in making essential health resources accessible. After receiving and learning how to use their prosthetic, beneficiaries are able to return to their vocation and provide for their family and themselves.

Increase our ability to adapt is one of our strategic priorities, and we are helping other parts of the world implement these types of projects. We successfully worked with the Rotary Club of Flacq on an LN-4, prosthetic arm distribution project in Mauritius, and we are supporting an LN-4 limb camp in Nigeria with the Rotary Club of Abuja.

Amid the pandemic, on 7 April 2021, I was elated to receive a communication from 2020-21 RI President Holger Knaack that I was one among the six Rotarians in the Rotary world to have been chosen as Champions of Health.

Let’s continue to go good in the world as we build communities and bridge continents!

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