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Rooting for Roona: Predicament of addressing birth defects and childhood disabilities in India

Anita Kar

DOI: 10.20529/IJME.2020.116


Rooting for Roona is a thought-provoking documentary on the unaddressed problem of congenital disorders and children who survive with severe disabilities in India. Released on Netflix, the documentary narrates the brief life of Roona from Jirania Khola village in Tripura. Roona is born with severe hydrocephalus, a disfiguring enlargement of the head due to fluid accumulation in the brain. She is non-verbal and visually impaired. Roona’s young father is a daily wage labourer, employed at a brick kiln in the village. Her mother is a housewife. Even though the fluid build-up in the brain can be relieved through shunting, Roona’s mother tells us that government hospitals in Tripura lack the facility to treat children with hydrocephalus. When we are first introduced to her at eighteen months, Roona is untreated and severely disfigured.

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