Dr P. Bhanumati
Dr P. Bhanumati, a Zoology professor from Thrissur, Kerala, grew up with three mentally challenged siblings. One tragic day, she lost her brother who was suffering from a throat problem. Bhanumathi felt that due to her brother’s mental illness, his case was treated as a low priority for the doctor and he did not receive the level of medical care he needed. Furthermore, she believed that there was a gap in the general provision of healthcare for the mentally disabled. There was a need for specialized facilities along with a qualified team trained to handle similar type cases. Determined, she decided to do something about it and set up the Association for Mentally Handicapped Adults (AMHA) Institute. It was a long journey for Bhanumathi, who had to educate people on the differing needs of the mentally disabled. Started in a small room in a Government School with only three students, today AHMA has an extensive array of services catering to about 60 people with mental disabilities mainly from low-income groups. Supported by her husband, she has now fully dedicated her life to the cause and they live in the school premises taking care of their extended family.
Good deeds seldom get done without opposition and Bhanumati has worked hard to overcome the obstacles in her way including adverse public opinion. After some time, she has gathered extensive support from the community along with local government authorities who are now actively involved and help her in the cause.
Quote:“I grew up with three mentally challenged siblings, and lost one due to inadequate medical attention. I know the pain and sufferings of these patients, which get amplified when their own family turns their back towards them. I’m proud that through my little contribution I am able to put a smile on their faces and give them a chance to live life with dignity.”