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TIRUVANNAMALAI: An integrated spinal rehabilitation center is slated to open next month in the Old Government Hospital in the Tiruvannamalai District.
The initiative, launched by Preethi Srinivasan (41), aims to care for and treat people who have been paralyzed for life due to a spinal cord injury (SCI). Preethi lives with a spinal cord injury 23 years ago and is a wheelchair user. Prior to the accident, she was a national swimmer and the youngest member of the women’s national cricket team.
“My mom inspired me to be the change. I was also saddened to hear the news that two girls I knew ended their lives because they were paraplegic. It was the trigger that made me decide something to do to help people like me, “Preethi told The New Indian Express.
In 2013 she founded a non-profit organization called Soulfree, which specifically provides education, medical and employment support to women. She had the idea of founding the rehab center to meet a distinct need. “Spinal cord injuries are incurable and can lead to permanent paralysis. However, there are only a few rehabilitation centers for spinal cord injury in the country,” said Preethi.
“The center we are working on will support us with the infrastructure to offer our beneficiaries holistic treatment. Over 35 services, including hydrotherapy and pressure ulcer care, are offered here, ”said Preethi, who received the Kalpana Chawla Award for Courage and Daring Enterprise from the state government in 2017.
On the occasion of the World Disabled Day on December 3, 2019, the state government allocated a place for the rehabilitation center in the old GH complex. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has stalled the project’s progress.
Preethi petitioned Chief Minister MK Stalin on July 8, tabled a charter of motions, including the recognition of SCI as a specific multiple disability, the creation of a central register to keep records of SCI cases in the state, insurance coverage for SCI Rehabilitation, access to education and special support for women.
On Sunday, Minister for Public Works EV Velu Preethi visited her home and presented her clearance certificates such as the building certificate from the tax office, the stability certificate from the PWD, the NOC of the fire brigade and rescue service and the sanitary certificate from the health department.
Various companies have helped through their corporate social responsibility (CSR) funds, Preethi said.
Caption: Public Works Minister EV Velu issues Clearance Certificates to Preethi Srinivasan for the establishment of the Integrated Spinal Rehabilitation Center in the Old Government Hospital Complex in the Tiruvannamalai District.