HARBHANGA (BOUDH):THE hair on her face might have vanished to some extent and her deformed face rectified following a series of surgeries by doctors of SCB Medical College and Hospital. Struggle of Rebati Kanhar (23), however, is far from over.
Rebati as a teenaged tribal girl of Khalisahi village in Harbhanga block of the district had hit the headlines in 2008. She suffered from swelling of the gums giving her an ape-like look and abnormal growth of hair across body and face. In medical terms, her case was rarest of rare deformity known as Idiopathic Gingival Enlargement (swelling of the gums) with hypertrichosis (abnormal growth of hair) .
Her father, Balakrushna Kanhar, suffered from a milder form of gingival enlargement while her brother, who had passed away a few years back, suffered from the same condition as Rebati.
After she caught the attention of the media, the SCB Medical administration took up the challenge to treat her and decided to bear all expenses of her treatment. A series of surgeries was performed on her and even a genetic analysis and research was conducted under the guidance of Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and in collaboration with the Institute of Immunology in Mumbai.
Although the State Government and the district administration had announced largesse for her rehabilitation, help has not reached her yet.The quota of rice that she was promised was stopped after it was doled out by the gram panchayat for a few months. No one ensured whether she ever went to school. She awaits the money assured under Harischandra Yojana.Her father Balakrushna, who weaved bamboo baskets to sustain family, died on June 7. Eleven days later, her mother Umadei also passed away.
Rebati now works as a daily wager to become economically independent and stays with her brother, who is already struggling to support his family with three daughters and wife. Collector Madhusudan Mishra assured all help to Rebati and said he would find out if she has been provided support under Harischandra Yojana. “In case she has not received any help, funds would be provided to her from Red Cross and if she desires, Rebati will be rehabilitated in Kanya Ashram or Swadhar Home,” he said.
He added that if Rebati is in possession of land, she will be provided with a house.