On any Tuesday, as you walk your way through the threshold of Epilepsy Foundation in Lotus House Churchgate, you will surely find a long queue of people awaiting their turn to meet Dr Nirmal Surya, a senior consultant neuro-physician at Bombay hospital and the founder trustee and chairman of Epilepsy Foundation and a renowned name in the world for neuro rehabilitation. Epilepsy Foundation has been working tirelessly for treating patients from the mofussil areas of the state. The foundation has about 2,500 patients register. Every Tuesday Dr Surya treats as many as 100 patients for free. Also, Dr Surya personally attends each and every patient by helping them to tackle epilepsy.
Epilepsy Foundation has also started an Epilepsy Rehabilitation and Management Center that helps in rehabilitation of patients. It includes occupational therapy, counselling session, speech therapy, yoga sessions and so on.
Dr Surya said, “The Epilepsy foundation is run in partnership by government of Maharashtra. We organise camps and help in providing epilepsy patients free medicines along with the counselling. We call patients individually and check as per the protocol and ask questions and analyse the answers. We support, follow up and monitor patients.”
He also emphasised on following a healthy lifestyle and taking medications on time can help the patients. “Lack of the intake of nutritious food, sleep and stress can trigger the epileptic attack,” said Dr Surya.
Speaking about providing treatment to the patients in the rural areas, he explained, “We have made a model of epilepsy care in the rural areas. That is our own model which is of The Epilepsy foundation and the National Mission. Now, we are able to bring down the treatment gap from approximately 80% to nearly 40%. It was possible because of our regular camps and the free medications. In each camp there are 8-10 neurologists. If a model and program is farmed properly and the government and the private NGOs are involved and they work in a PPP model, we can reach out to each and every state and city of India.”
He added, “I am about to do a program of training the neurologists, for the neuro disabilities. The meeting for the same will be conducted in March with the NGOs. When I start training the neurologists, a one –day program will be conducted in each and every state. We are trying to do this with the ICMR and the WHO jointly.”
In the WCNR 2018, on February 10, in a two-hour epilepsy session, the expert panellists spoke in detail about epilepsy, a very sad reality in this country today. The national and international experts thanked Dr Nirmal Surya for his efforts in making this conference a grand success.
Explaining about the need for public forums, Dr Surya said, “It is necessary to have a heart-out dialogue between the patients, their families and the panellists. So the idea was to get experts from abroad and discuss about the scenario in their country. Earlier, people didn’t talk about epilepsy due to the ignorance. It was like a taboo. Once the patient gains confidence it changes his/her perspective. And when patients are accepted they start feeling better.”
Also, the patients at the OPD praised Dr Surya for his selfless efforts and thanked him from the bottom of their heart. Deepak Sharma who came for his brother Amit’s treatment said, “My brother is suffering from epilepsy. Since last 4 years, we are visiting Dr Surya. Earlier, He used to get seizures. But, he is fine now. I thank Dr Surya for the same.”
Patient Pradnya’s father said, “My daughter suffered from epilepsy after her 2nd birthday. Many doctors told me it’s not curable. Then, I came to know about Dr Surya. Now, we are coming here since 4 years and she doesn’t get seizures. We trust Dr Surya and follow all his instructions. My daughter is improving and does her chores by herself. I thank Dr Surya for all his efforts.”
Dr Surya signed off by saying, “With the evolution of new treatments and medicines, people should come forward and get their choice of treatment from the doctor. The patients themselves have to show the curiosity to get better. And that will change their lives.”