Project to make State accessible for persons with disabilities

Asia-Pacific, January 5 2017

KERALA, INDIA: The government will launch a comprehensive project — Anuyatra — for the management of disabilities in the State. The project adopts a rights-based life cycle approach to disability management, from primordial prevention to organising sustainable rehabilitation programs for persons with disabilities.

Wheelchair Access SymbolThe project, being implemented in a campaign mode, with specific targets and time frame, is aimed at making Kerala a accessible State, Minister for Health and Social Justice K.K. Shylaja said here on Wednesday.

The initiative is being launched under the Social Justice Department’s State Initiative on Disabilities, with the cooperation of the Departments of Health, Local Self-Government, and Education.

Primordial and primary prevention of disabilities will be ensured through awareness creation regarding pre-natal determinants of disability, including consanguinity, anaemia, early marriage and late pregnancy; the importance of folic acid supplementation and Rubella vaccination during gestation; and promotion of planned pregnancies and strengthening of antenatal and peri-natal care.

Secondary and tertiary prevention will include early identification through screening and disability management, including rehabilitation and palliative care services.

In this context, the government would take steps to introduce universal and mandatory screening of newborns to check for any hearing disabilities, Ms. Shylaja said.

Training would be given to health workers regarding this at all 66 delivery points in the public sector.

At present, comprehensive neonatal screening program has been implemented in 40 government hospitals, which will be extended to 26 more hospitals this year itself, she added.

The government would also take steps to establish District Early Intervention Centres (DEIC) with all facilities in all districts for the early management of disabilities, with Model Child Rehabilitation Centres linked to it, she said.

Intellectual disabilities, including mental retardation, autism and cerebral palsy would be given special focus and health workers would be trained in early identification.

Special anganwadis for the needs of children with mental disabilities and development delays would be set up in districts. The pilot project has already been started in Kozhikode.

Efforts are also on to strengthen the BUDS schools under local bodies to help children with intellectual disabilities. The BUDS rehabilitation centres for older children with intellectual disabilities will be augmented with more vocational rehabilitation programs.

In addition, the government was launching a Project Autism, under which, special autism management centres will be opened in all five government medical college hospitals. The first of these will be opened at TD Medical College, Alappuzha, in January.

The government was also restructuring Sruthitharangam, the cochlear implantation project launched by the former government, by adding on components for early identification of hearing disabilities and ensuring that children who might benefit through cochlear implantation are provided the facility by the time they are 18 months old, so that they can be trained to join normal schools by the time they turn three years of age. These children would be given continuous training and followed up for another two years, the Minister said.

Distribution of UDID cards for all eligible persons with disabilities in a time-bound manner and enrolment of all eligible disabled persons in Swaalamban insurance scheme was also on.

Source: Hindu

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