KOZHIKODE: The strenuous efforts of officials from four government departments, who complemented one another remarkably well, have helped a leukaemia patient get a vital drug from a pharma company in Mumbai. Consequently, Javad, hailing from Edavannappara in Vazhakkad here, managed to get the medicine he has to take on a daily basis.
The extraordinary lengths to which the authorities went to fetch the drug has left Javad, who had been in low spirits since the lockdown kicked in as his stock of medicines was nearly over, at a loss for words to express his gratitude to these angels in distress. It is the Mukkam self-help group, a collective of youngsters, engaged in social service which first took note of Javad’s plight.
The group sounded out the Fire and Rescue officials at Mukkam. Disclosing the efforts undertaken by the officials involved in the operation, Vijayan, station officer, Mukkam Fire and Rescue Services unit, said, “It was on March 6, we got a call from a volunteer of Mukkam self-help group who filled us in on the issue. Getting that one drug was indeed a Herculean task since we had to get it all the way from Mumbai. Later, we had to call up a Mumbai-based acquaintance Rinoob, an Army Major, to solicit his help.
We also drew sustenance from the directive issued by the Fire and Rescue Services chief to help all those who need medicines during the lockdown period.” According to Vijayan, “ it was indeed a task to send people from Kozhikode with the empty bottles of the particular drug to the company in Mumbai. Hence, Major Rinoob and Assistant Commissioner, Mumbai Police, spoke to the company chief. The firm finally agreed to give the medicines without the bottles which they had dispatched to Javad earlier”.
The medicine that was delivered at the Thana police station in Mumbai was taken to the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport with the assistance of the police. Later, the medicine was couriered to the Chennai Airport with the help of the Indian Postal service. Though the postal department in Chennai functions only till 3.30 pm, it stayed open till 4 pm on Thursday so that the parcel could be delivered. And from there, the medicine was transported to the Palakkad border by the postal department.
The postal authorities in Palakkad have given an undertaking that the medicines will be delivered to Javad directly on Saturday morning, according to Vijayan. On why he had to procure the drug from outside the state, Javad said,” Some people asked me why I cannot get the medicines from Kerala. The full course of medicine is prohibitively expensive and it costs over a lakh at the Regional C a n c e r C e n t r e i n Thiruvananthapuram.” “It was through an NGO I used to get these medicines at affordable rates but the pharmaceutical company put a rider.
They will dispatch the medicines only if I send them back the six empty bottles of the drugs they had already provided. Since it was lockdown, I did not have an option to send the medicine bottles back. This is why I had to approach the good souls here to save my life,” said Javad, adding, “ I’m truly overwhelmed by the unconditional support these people have extended to me in this hour of reckoning”.