A healing touch for lepers
A healing touch for lepers.Located in a sleepy, picturesque village of Morampudi in Duggirala mandal of Guntur district and facing the Krishna river canal is the Specialised Leprosy Hospital.
Located in a sleepy, picturesque village of Morampudi in Duggirala mandal of Guntur district and facing the Krishna river canal is the Specialised Leprosy Hospital. The hospital was set up by the Greater Tenali Leprosy Treatment and Education Scheme Society (GRETNALTES), which was founded by Vangara Venkateswara Rao, who was a leprosy victim.
Now an octogenarian, Vangara Venkateswara Rao, who has served lepers for three decades, believes he has made a difference in the lives of 55,000 leprosy victims and their families. After a sudden attack of leprosy, Rao had abandoned his family and set out for the Himalayas to die in peace.
But an encounter with Save the Children Organisation in Srikakulam district changed his life. He was treated for leprosy and was completely healed. It was then that he realised that he had to serve the people. Returning from self exile, he established the organisation in Tenali and brought about a change in the lives of millions of leprosy victims.
Fortunately, the treatment consisting of only domiciliary dapsone (DDS) monotherapy yielded miraculous results on Rao and healed all his ailments. In the course of treatment, deformities were also corrected by surgery. Since his miraculous recovery from leprosy, those suffering from the disease started coming to him for advice regarding treatment.
Venkateswara Rao was encouraged by Alapati Dharmarao and Neti Parasurama Sharma to set up the society. GRETNALTES launched a Survey, Education and Training (SET) progamme in three districts namely Guntur, Khammam and Ranga Reddy. With the help of Multi Drug Therapy – MDT, about 50,000 people affected with leprosy were cured.
A referral hospital at Morampudi village is now extending specialised services in conducting reconstructive surgeries on the leprosy victims and correcting their disabilities. The society is also running an integrated school for children of leprosy victims and the ordinary children of the village.
Rao’s son Hemachandu, a software professional, quit his job in London and stepped into his father’s shoes to give his father’s mission a new lease of life. Hemachandu said, “We are planning to establish a mother and child care hospital to help the peasants. Also, we will be starting a home for the old.”
By Ravi P Benjamin