Parents of progeria patient want son’s safety amid corona

Parents want a safe shelter for Rupesh to save him from contracting the deadly virus as his immunity is very low due to his medical condition.
Hindustan Times, Lucknow | By Kenneth John
UPDATED ON MAY 11, 2020 07:33 PM IST

Ramapati and Usha Devi, a poor couple of Dhanaicha Malkhanpur village under Phulpur tehsil of Prayagraj district, are getting sleepless nights ever since a Covid-19 patient was detected in Bahadur block—a few kilometres away from their village last week.

Reason: Their 24-year-old son Rupesh who suffers from a rare disorder, Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome (HGPS) commonly known as progeria. They want a safe shelter for Rupesh to save him from contracting the deadly virus as his immunity is very low due to his medical condition.

This rare incurable disorder accelerates ageing process of children leading to premature death. Although the kids who are in the grip of this rare disorder die by the time they reach 15 years of age, Rupesh is one of the oldest living progeria patients.

Ramapati, who is a rickshaw puller, claimed that despite several requests, no government support for his ailing son had been made available so far.

“Covid-19 pandemic is spreading at a fast pace and has several cases in Prayagraj. A man, who had returned from Mumbai recently to Chatnag of Jhunsi locality, around 12 kilometres from our house in our Bahadurpur block has tested positive. It is a cause for concern for me as even a slight brush with virus can make him susceptible to the unthinkable,” he said.

Rupesh’s mother Usha Devi also raised her concern about her son’s safety amid corona times.

“My son has become very weak. The lockdown has left us penniless. If my son is not provided a safe shelter, he won’t survive,” she said.

Social activist and managing trustee of Ashutosh Memorial Trust Dr Girish Tripathi, who looks after Rupesh, said, “If a room on the outskirts of the village in any government building is made available, Rupesh could be kept there till corona threat is over.”

Meanwhile, chief medical officer, Prayagraj, Dr GS Bajpai said no special arrangement was available for such a case and that quarantine centres were made only for suspected Covid-19 cases.

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