VMS offers free-rehab of youth left physically disabled in Kashmir unrest


Srinagar: The Voluntary Medicare Society or VMS  Saturday announced free treatment and rehabilitation of the people who have suffered spinal injuries during the the ongoing Kashmir unrest.

VMS announced the decision during a media briefing at the sprawling centre on Bemina Bypass which is first of its kind in the state.

VMS stressed upon the need for adopting the bill which replaces the ‘Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995 in the state.

This, VMS believes, will comply with the United Nations Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which India signed in 2007.

VMS is helping people , particularly children and youth with physical disabilities, to coup up with the challenges of life.

Some spinal injury patients shared undergoing treatment at the centre shared their heroic experiences of overcoming the challenges before the media persons.

Waseem Ahmad, a wheelchair bound person, who heads the wheelchair bound volleyball team of VMS shared his experiences with the media. Farooq Ahmad, a former cop who suffered spinal injury in Sep 2014, in a road accident, revealed as  how he tried to end his life but then how he was led to Shafaqat Rehab Centre runby the VMS which gave him new hope to live. Today he drives a car, runs his business and helps to sustain his family.

He appealed the CM to fulfill the promise of her late father Mufti M Sayeed regarding developing indoor sports facility for spinal injury persons and other handicapped persons at the VMS campus. Mohammad Rafiq Parray, a victim of spinal injury and multiple haemangioma , a member of the VMS team lamented that not a single shopping arcade in the valley is accessible to wheelchair-bound persons. He said he never had a chance to purchase clothes of his choice because of non-accessibility of shopping centres.

Khurshid Ahmad Malik, vice president, VMS, himself an accident victim and wheelchair bound person, shared his experiences and lamented how masjids and other places of worship and  were inaccessible to them. He urged media persons to build up public opinion for implementing the amended act for welfare of persons with infirmities so that the lot of handicapped persons is ameliorated.

Primarily established in 1970 by ENT Surgeon, Dr Mir Mohammad Maqbool, former Professor and HoD ENT, GMC Srinagar, the socio medical society has graduated to be a vibrant organisation  which runs a Shafaqat School, an Inclusive School for specially abled children with a roll of around hundred children and a state of art Shaqat Rehabilitation centre for spinal injury patients and patients with other physical infirmities. The centre has a special prosthesis section, which is run with the assistance of ICRC, provides free of cost highly special prosthesis like foot, arm, hand which enable the amputees to live an independent and productive life. Each limb is customised according to the individual’s needs and is made of ultra light yet strong materials with an average cost of Rs70,000.

The centre also runs a physiotherapy centre, a world class gym, CAM Therapy unit and a Hydrotherapy unit, 1st of its kind in Northern states. Another major area of activity of the VMS is mental health. State’s leading psychiatrist, Prof Mushtaq Margoob, is the Director of the SAWAB Centre for providing specialised treatment and free consults to the persons with mental health issues. The SAWAB centre is credited with running clinics across the valley particularly in Waltengoonaad, Kulgam District started following snow sunami. The centre also ran a special mental health programme for district Ganderbal with the help of Douglas Institute of Mental Health, University of Montreal Canada. The just concluded programme besides studying post traumatic stress disorders and other psychological problems also trained a large number of community leaders including Imams of Masjids and young boys and girls in counselling persons confronted with psychological disorders and some with suicidal tendencies to build linkages with specialists.

The VMS with sponsorship from State Bank of India, is currently running a valley-wide Rs2.15 crore programme for rehabilitation of poor hearing impaired persons programme who are provided free of cost consultations and hearing aids.

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