On 27th June this year, 17-year-old Syed Aleen suffered Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS)- a rare disorder in which one’s body immune system attacks your nerves leading to weakness and tingling in your hands and feet are usually the first symptoms. These sensations can quickly spread, eventually paralyzing your whole body.
He was first shifted to Srinagar’s Shri Maharaja Hari Singh (SMHS) hospital. After a few days of treatment, he was taken to Shafaqat Rehabilitation Centre in Bemina area of the city.
“His muscles and nerves were totally non-functional. The body was also paralyzed. His condition was so bad that we took him to the rehab centre on a wheelchair,” said Minza, Aleen’s mother.
“It has been almost three months now that we are visiting the rehabilitation centre for the physiotherapy and thanks to almighty, he has recovered well. He is walking on his own legs now without any support,” she said.
Minza said that she is grateful to the entire staff of the centre who with dedication took care of his son.
“We approached very prominent doctors for the treatment of our son in Delhi but everyone suggested that we should not move out of the valley when we have such a big asset at our own place. We also consulted top physiotherapist of India who originally belongs to Kashmir Dr Aijaz Ashai who suggested us to go for this centre only,” she said.
“We had lost all hope for my son getting back to normal but it was all possible because of this rehab centre,” she added.
Sobiya Anim, a post-graduate student said that she had fallen from the stairs in Bangladesh in 2017 when she was pursuing MBBS. She is now suffering from spastic diplegia.
“My legs suffered injuries and I am unable to walk properly. Now, since I started visiting this centre, I have learnt walking back. It looks like I got that life back,” she said.
“Before coming here, I visited some other physiotherapy centres in Srinagar but I didn’t find what Shafaqat Rehabilitation Centre has been offering- too much care and best services,” she said.
In this rehab room, Dr Aadil, a physiotherapist at the centre is trying to make Abdul Rasheed Sheikh, a labourer to stand on his own as he has received back injuries affecting his spinal cord.
“I had fallen from a tree while plucking the walnuts. I am unable to walk now,” Sheikh told Indiatimes.
Hailing from Khag area of central Kashmir’s Budgam district, Sheikh said that he has undergone a back surgery.
“Now physiotherapy has improved my situation. I am feeling better now as compared to earlier. Then, I was completely lying on the bed,” he said.
He said that awareness needs to be done about such centres who have been doing best without bringing itself into the limelight.
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“My back part of the body has started some movement and I am hopeful that things will change soon,” he added.
A US national Sandra Mak who is married to a Kashmiri in Baramulla district visited this centre for her right knee surgery.
“I am happy to see this kind of facility in the valley. One wouldn’t believe that we too don’t have such rehabilitation centres in the US. The doctors are very cooperative and treat the patients very well. I would suggest others to visit here,” she said.
How did this centre come up?
Shafaqat Rehabilitation Centre is running under the auspices of Voluntary Medicare Society (VMS), a non-governmental organisation (NGO). It was started by the former head of the department (HOD) Governmental Medical College, Srinagar Dr Mir Mohammad Maqbool to give a new lease of life to the disabled people of the valley.
In 1995, the VMS founded a special school for rehabilitation of children challenged with metal, orthopaedic, speech and hearing problems.
It started functioning from the year 2000. Currently, there are 57special students enrolled in this school. VMS is running this school to provide comprehensive and continuing rehabilitation to children by therapy, training, exercise, interaction, and education, the VMS website said.
Later, after witnessing the multiple disability cases, facilities were upgraded and a rehab centre was opened bringing much needed relief into the lives of the valley residents.
Services being offered
The treatment of orthopaedic and neurological conditions, spinal cord injuries, stroke, Parkinson’s disease, head traumas, paediatric disabilities and genetic disorders is done at the centre.
As per doctors at rehab, the centre attends at least 70 patients in a day.
‘Different Than Other Rehabs’
Bashir Ahmad Lone, administrator of Shafaqat Rehabilitation Centre said that they are working hard to bring this centre in par with international centres.
“A lot of awareness needs to be created regarding this rehab centre so that more people can take its rightful benefit. We have such a big asset in our own city but people don’t have any knowledge about it,” he said.
“We provide the best facilities to our patients who visit us with new techniques of machinery,” he added.
Dr Suhail Habib, In-charge physiotherapist of rehab centre said that people need to visit us on time.
“That’s how we can tackle their problems and overcome them,” he said.
He added that most of the people have no idea about this rehab centre and an awareness is much needed.
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