Columbia Rotary Clubs Support Plastic Surgeries in India

Melvin Platt Announcements, Community Service

The five Rotary clubs of Columbia joined in supporting a Free Plastic Surgery Camp at the Jalna Mission Hospital in Jalna, India earlier this spring. The Rotary Club of Columbia (acting as the lead club), Columbia Northwest Rotary Club, Columbia South Rotary Club, Columbia Metro Rotary Club, Columbia Sunrise Southwest Rotary Club and an anonymous Rotarian from the Rotary Club of Columbia contributed funds to support this project. Local contributions were matched by a Rotary District Grant and by a grant from the Rotary Foundation to provide a total of $16,525 for the purchase of medical supplies and services needed for plastic surgeries of 90 patients to correct cleft lips and palates, deformities of hands and feet, and the disfigured bodies resulting from severe burns. The jointly-funded grant initiated by Rotarians in Columbia represented the largest gift to the Jalna plastic surgery project in 2013. The Columbia clubs partnered with the Rotary Club of Jalna, India, the host sponsor club, in this humanitarian effort. Other supporting partner clubs include the Rotary Club of Hattingen, Germany and the Rotary Club of Bombay Midtown.

The Free Plastic Surgery Camp was made possible by a team of German plastic surgeons, anesthesiologists, and nurses who travelled to Jalna during their vacation to provide gratis service to the poor who desperately needed medical attention. The German medical team was joined by a large team of surgeons from India to perform surgeries in Jalna between February 23 and March 6, 2013.

The Plastic Surgery Camp was begun in 2004 and celebrated its tenth anniversary this spring. In past years, the plastic surgery camp was held for three weeks, but this year’s surgical period was cut short by the illness of the lead German surgeon who was diagnosed with malignant melanoma two days after Christmas. Initially Jalna Rotarians feared that the camp might be cancelled this year, but a cadre of German physicians and nurses who had traveled to Jalna previously insisted that the camp should continue as planned, but with a smaller medical team from Germany and fewer patients.

Because of the success of the Free Plastic Surgery Camp this year, the District Governor of Rotary District 3132 awarded First Prize to the Rotary Club of Jalna for sponsoring the best humanitarian project in the district. The Columbia Rotary clubs are pleased to have been the largest international contributor to that winning project.

Melvin Platt