Dim Hopes of Rehabilitation for the Disabled

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HYDERABAD: It could be close to beating Bengaluru in the IT game, but Hyderabad falls miserably behind India’s startup capital when it comes to rehabilitation care. While the new Rights of Persons with Disability Act 2016 lists out 21 disciplines that require rehabilitation, the city caters to just a handful.

Experts say that unlike a Bengaluru that’s peppered with centres offering necessary care in at least 15 disciplines, it is limited to 10 in Hyderabad. Rehabilitation for conditions like Parkinson’s disease, chronic neurological conditions, dwarfism, speech and language, multiple sclerosis, for instance, is completely missing.
Worse, the number of institutes – both in the private and public sector -is far from impressive. Some of the notable names are: the National Institute for Empowerment of Persons with Intellectual Disabilities, Institute for Mental Health, Devnar School for Blind and Sweekaar. Primary reason for this low count? Shor tage of trained professionals, say experts. “That apart, the lack of training institutes, high administrative cost and absence of proper management mechanisms are also responsible.Sadly , there are not more than 50 private, government and NGO-run rehabilitation centres across city,” said Dr Praveen Chintapanti, a Madhapur-based psychiatrist.

According to the Rehabilitation Council of India records, 79,336 people are registered rehabilitation professionals across the country . In Hyderabad, experts say, the figure is an abysmally low 100 (approx). Also, while clinical psychologists and speech therapists are easy to spot, professionals with other forms of expertise – such as orientation and mobility spe cialists, community-based rehabilitation specialists, rehabilitation counselors – are rare to find.

“Predictably , people in the city find it extremely difficult to locate qualified rehabilitation professionals who know what therapy to opt for while treating an individual,” said Dr Anandh Prasad Balky, pediatric neurosurgeon.

Another grey area, experts say, is the social stigma attached to seeking rehabilitation. People often refrain from opting for help, either for themselves or their chil dren. “As doctors, when we tell parents that their child needs rehabilitation, often I see them disowning the child.When a girl child is involved, husbands don’t even hesitate from filing for divorce,” said Dr Namrata Rao, a developmental pediatrician.

By: Sribala Vadlapatla| TNN | 

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