GUNTUR: With a motto to serve those most in need, GRETNALTES (Greater Tenali Leprosy Treatment and Education Scheme Society), supported by FAIRMED, has been providing treatment to leprosy patients free of cost since 1981. The society first began providing relief to people affected by leprosy in Morampudi, a small town in Tenali of Guntur district and soon extended its services to other districts as well. It is a voluntary and philanthropic non-profit organisation (NPO). It strives to provide quality education to unprivileged children whose families have been affected by leprosy, to children who suffer from leprosy, those who are mentally and physically challenged and those who are orphans. The prime concern of the organisation, however, is to serve the people suffering from leprosy.
The volunteers of GRETNALTES said, the founder of the society late V Venkateswara Rao, at a very young age, had suffered from all ailments in leprosy. Miraculously, he found treatment at a tribal village in the Araku region. He then started the foundation to help those suffering from leprosy. His son Hemachandu who had settled in the UK was drawn to his father’s vision and returned to India to look after the foundation. He is now the CEO of the organisation.
The organisation conducts door-to-door surveys to identify leprosy patients. So far, they have covered about 30 crore population in various districts of the State. Thousands of leprosy patients received free of cost treatment and have been cured. A total of 1,602 surgeries have been conducted with a success rate of 97 per cent since 2007. Around 62,000 leprosy affected persons have been cured by multi-drug therapy (MDT) free of cost. The NPO also provides free medicines.
Hemachandu said they are also planning to set up a Mother and Child Care Hospital and an old age home with full access to health facilities. “We want to make sure people will be served without any troubles in the future as well.”