Loksatta JP & Manda Krishna Saved Lives of Thousands of Children
What is the relationship between Lok Satta JP and Manda Krishna Madiga? How did they save lives of children together? This is what you might be thinking, right? Yes, it is absolutely true. Protest in two different ways to achieve the very same goal turned out to be fruitful. Conveying to the present generations that aims and goals can be achieved through non-violent procedures also is the main objective of this article. Going into detail..
Before August, 2004: It was the time when many children suffering from heart disorders were taking their last breath, being unable to afford treatment..Parents of many children were appearing on Live TV shows, reduced to tears with their kids’ deteriorating health conditions. They were pleading on the shows seeking help. Manda Krishna Madiga who was touched by the distressing situation gave a call for a movement. MRPS members and followers shifted hundreds of children suffering from heart ailments in various parts of the state to Hyderabad city. Parents of these children, under the assistance of Manda Krishna strongly demanded government to conduct surgeries for their children. Their intensity made the government to comply with them. Surgeries free of cost were promised by government for children. Since then, hundreds have been able to get cardiac ailments cured through operations. Thus Manda Krishna’s determination to eradicate struggle of several children has aided many in need. But this did not put an end to the problem.
Why are children affected by cardiac ailments? Some Pregnant women are affected by a disease called Rubella whose symptoms are mostly not physically visible. It results in mild fever, cold, reddening of eyes, throat pain etc.. Many consume medicines like paracetamol and symptoms subside. But these tablets strongly affect the foetus in their womb and finally results in cardiac problems as the child grows up. Surgery is the only cure. Lok Satta JP who learned the problem has been suggesting the governments since 2004 that pregnant women should be provided with MMR (Measels, Mumps, Rubella) vaccine to avoid Rubella in them, which he says, would save thousands of children from being prone to dreadful diseases later in life.
As a member of National Advisory Council formed in 2004, headed by Sonia Gandhi, JP recommended necessary amendment in Health services. The National Rural Health Mission was born on the basis of JP’s ideas. Governments have disbursed thousands of crores of rupees on people’s health since 2014 under the scheme. JP suggested that MMR be included on the list of vaccines offered to public through this scheme. But governments kept giving lame reasons and did not implement it. This vaccine was mentioned by Jaya Prakash Narayan in his presentation given to Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission on reforms to be brought about in health services. Big people who discuss only big things felt this was a very small issue to discuss and put it aside. However, JP has constantly been reminding governments about inclusion of MMR vaccine. After JP founded the Loksatta party in 2006, he discussed MMR vaccine in every meeting he attended. He questioned the then chief Kiran Kumar Reddy on the same when he took part in Arogya Sri’s debate on TV9. (Video is available on YouTube).
We should discuss a situation involving JP that I (writer) witnessed.
I were doing ‘Come on India’ program for HMTV in 2009. Popular director SS Rajamouli acted as presenter of the program. We arranged for shoot in Annapurna Studios for an interview we planned with JP. We interviewed Nagarjuna on a different topic and then continued with JP at the same place. JP discussed MMR vaccine with Rajamouli. The director then questioned JP, “Why are governments not ready to do it when lives of several children can be saved by spending just Rs.3 crore?”. To this, what JP said was, “If governments arrange for operations after they are affected by diseases, they can attract votes from people. In case medical aid is provided prior to people being prone to diseases, public will not feel the pain. They would not vote for them. That is the reason Arogya Sri is of more importance than prevention of diseases in the country”. I am an eye-witness for this conversation that took place between them both. JP kept on questioning government on the subject till 2014. He met Narendra Modi in Ahmedabad before 2014 elections could be held. When JP was speaking about the changes that have to be made in the country, he explained to Modi, the necessity of MMR Vaccine and finally, JP was able to achieve it.
In July 2014, Modi’s government has decided to include MMR on the list of vaccines that are offered free of cost to people. Because of this, no children born in India would suffer from heart diseases caused due to Rubella anymore. This way, lives of thousands of people were saved and are being saved. It was all achieved through peace and non-violence. Change does not need setting buses on fire or causing inconvenience to public. This is merely an example to prove it.