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A soldier's healing touch

Association for Blindness and Leprosy Eradication (ABLE), which began in 1993 as a one-room clinic, has till date treated nearly 30,000 patients and performed 500 surgeries.

india Updated: Oct 13, 2006 01:26 IST
Behrola

Prem Khullar is fighting a different battle. It does not spill blood but ends up donating some. The soldiers bomb bacteria, not civilian population. And the retired air force squadron leader has been doing it for the past 13 years.

What began in 1993 as a one-room clinic is now the Association for Blindness and Leprosy Eradication (ABLE). Made possible through generous NRI funding and local land donations, till date it has treated nearly 30,000 patients and performed 500 surgeries. "The government did not help," Khullar says.

The hospital has cardiology, gynaecology, paediatrics, radiology, dermatology, dentistry, physiotherapy, orthopaedics and surgical departments. The cost of surgeries ranges between Rs 5,000 and Rs 8,500 depending on how complicated they are. Women patients are charged 50 paise a day and get Rs 1.50 in aid. "We are also working out a medical insurance plan for 2,000 poor widows and their children," Khullar says. ABLE also funds the education of 27 children and seven orphans.