Dubai: An Indian woman’s mission to repatriate bedridden compatriot workers in Dubai for long-term rehabilitation is continuing with a second patient being flown to Kerala earlier this month.
An Indian worker from the state of Uttar Pradesh, Baij Nath Prajapathi, who was paralysed after suffering a stroke in Dubai, was flown to Kerala for further treatment and care at a centre run by social worker Uma Preman in the south Indian state.
Preman founded charitable institution Santhi Medical Information Centre in 1997 for those who seek medical information, treatment and financial assistance for crippling or life-threatening ailments after her husband’s death due to a wrong diagnosis.
Prajapathi, 38, who was admitted in Rashid Hospital on March 9 after he suffered a stroke and paralysis, was referred to Preman by Dubai-based social worker Naseer Vatanappally.
“She had already committed herself to supporting and taking care of poor Indian workers in hospitals here. So, I have been coordinating with her since the first case she took up last year,” said Vatanappally.
In September last year, Preman welcomed Pradeep Sharma, a comatose patient hailing from the eastern state of Bihar, to Santhi. She became the new guardian angel for Sharma, who had been in coma for 14 months in Dubai.
However, Sharma remained in the care of Preman and Santhi’s team only for six more months.
“Our aim was to improve his health condition,” Preman told Gulf News over phone from Kerala.
“His father, wife and brother-in-law had visited him once. But unfortunately, he had developed epilepsy and passed away due to a cardiac arrest in February. We had borne all expenses for sending his body home for his funeral.”
However, that did not stop Preman from supporting other hapless Indian workers in Dubai.
In the last week of May, she was brought in to Dubai by Vatanappally, who supports the Indian Consulate in Dubai to assist distressed Indians, especially bedridden patients in hospitals.
He put forward Prajapathi’s case to the award-winning social worker.
The father of six girls had become immobile and had been receiving food through a nasogastric tube. He became paralysed while at work at a juice shop in Al Nahda.
“After studying the case history, she immediately agreed to take home Prajapathi for further treatment,” Vatanappally said.
The Indian Consulate in Dubai, which provides air tickets to distressed Indians from the Indian Community Welfare Fund, offered a stretcher ticket for Prajapathi on an Air India flight. The mission also sponsored a return ticket for a nurse to accompany him.
Prajapathi reached the Santhi Medical Information Centre early morning on the 48th birthday of Preman.
“I accepted the duty of taking care of him at Santhi as a duty that God entrusted with me on this birthday,” said the woman who had donated a kidney to a youth in 1999 and won over 150 awards for her selfless services.
“It is beyond the means of his family to take further care of him. He will be here with us as our brother.”
Over three weeks in Santhi, Prajapathi is responding to treatment well, she said on Saturday.
“His father and brother-in-law came and stayed here for three days. They said they would come back again with other family members to see him and be with him for some days.”
Preman said she has been coordinating with Vatanappally and the consulate to assist more patients in such conditions.
Vatanappally, who is assisted by social workers Nizar Pattambi and Mohsin Calicut, said the need of the hour is to drum up more support for Preman in her mission as she ensures care for the workers whose families are unable to do so.
“When the patients reach Santhi, the family members from different Indian states can at least travel to Kerala and visit them. When they are lying bedridden here, families are not able to come over to even see them for a while, I hope philanthropists and the Indian government will support Santhi.” he said.
Preman said she lives with the patients in a building rented for Santhi’s rehabilitation centre in Attappadi, Palakkad district.
She said work has just begun for a new building with a 20-bed ICU facility in a land she bought with the support of good souls.