Like any other parent of a two-year-old toddler, Pune-based Shreejit Hingankar’s parents too feel like picking him up in their arms and playing with him. It has, however, been several months since they haven’t done that. Because Shreejit is not like any other baby, being a mere two-year-old, he already weighs a massive 31.7kg.
Shreejit suffers from a rare medical condition – Leptin Gene mutation or deficiency – it does not have a cure in India. According to doctors, he needs Leptin shots, which are available only in England. However, due to some technical issues, the company has stopped exporting the medicine. Because of which the doctors have not been able to treat him and are struggling to get the medicine.
According to doctors, the only option that remains is to take Shreejit to London urgently. However, his father Amol works as a temporary helper in a Pune-based private firm and does not have money to bear the expensive treatment cost. For the past few months, doctors have been trying to raise funds through NGOs and corporate houses, but in vain.
Shreejit started putting on weight at an abnormal rate a fortnight after his birth. The family consulted several doctors before meeting Dr Shashank Shah, a Bariatric Surgeon in Pune. The surgeon was not in favour of carrying out a surgery on Shreejit and sent him to Mumbai for second opinion.
Last year in October, after landing in Mumbai, Shreejit’s family met several doctors, including Dr Parag Tamhankar, divisional head at Parel-based Genetic Research Centre, National Institute for Research in Reproductive Health (NIRRH).
Tamhankar conducted a Leptin Receptor Deficiency (LRD) test on Shreejit, which found that he suffered from leptin gene mutation and that it had led to deficiency of leptin hormone. Fortunately, the leptin receptors were found to be normal.
According to doctors, Shreejit can be partly treated with leptin injections which are very expensive and required to be taken throughout his life. Leptin shots will reduce his hunger and improve metabolism.
“We don’t have the required money to treat our child. However, the doctors are trying hard to collect funds from good Samaritans and well-wishers. We can only pray to god. Last few months have been a nightmare for us,” said Amol, father of Shreejit.
The company which manufactures the medicine is based in London. And the company does not export the medicine hence there is an urgent need for Shreejit to fly to London.
While talking to My Medical Mantra Dr Shashank Shah, former president of the Obesity Surgery Society of India (OBSSI) and bariatric surgeon and bariatric surgeon at Hinduja Healthcare, Khar said, “This is a completely different case for me. I have personally met a lot of experts across the world and discussed Shreejit’s case with them. I have found out that there are some technical issues because of which the company cannot export the medicine which Shreejit so desperately needs. I am, however, still exploring all possible avenues to try and get the medicine.”
According to World Health Organisation (WHO), 41 million children under the age of 5 were overweight or obese in 2014. More than 1.9 billion adults were overweight. Of these over 600 million were obese. 39% of adults aged 18 years and above were overweight in 2014, and 13% were obese. Most of the world’s population live in countries where overweight and obesity kills more people than underweight.