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Access to Rehabilitation

Early on, RDT realised that there were certain cases where medical intervention and support could be used in order to improve the quality of life of PWDs. However, lack of awareness or education, financial constraints, and unavailability of medical devices and doctors, came in the way.

Medical rehabilitation is one of the strongest ways of equipping PWDs. The primary purpose is to allow them to lead an independent and autonomous life. In certain cases, where corrective treatment is an option, medical surgeries are availed and in alternative cases, the use of suitable devices like hearing aids, crutches, orthopaedic support etc. is provided which can bring about a drastic level of change in their life quality. Children who were forced to crawl or creep to get about, are now able to walk with pride and attend school, while impaired adults can access useful and rewarding occupations.

“Provision of appliances such as crutches and wheel chairs has eased the life of many PWDs.”
R. Ramudu
parent and CDC member, Uravakonda

Centre for Children with Intellectual Disabilities (ID)

Marrying within one’s family has been a prevalent practice in Andhra Pradesh since generations. Over time, this practice can result in varying forms of intellectual disabilities like down’s syndrome, autism, and multiple disabilities. The centres were started as much to help parents as to help their children. Besides offering them support and professional advice, the centres also free up parents’ and caregivers’ time so that they can work. These residential centres organise trainings focusing on activities of daily living skills- such as basic hygiene, bathing, brushing, and higher activities like taking care of poultry and cattle or garden maintenance. The children visit their homes once a month for a week, and the hope is to work together with caregivers to help them achieve either complete or partial independence.

Centre for Children with Cerebral Palsy (CR):

Cerebral palsy is a condition that affects different brain functions, from speech to body mobility; it is usually a result of oxygen deprivation while the foetus is growing in the womb. Poor rural families typically do not have access to professional help or advice on how to handle children with CP so most children are left lying down all the time, which lead to bed sores, and wasting away of limbs. When children first come to the centre, they usually cannot sit up. Few months of physiotherapy sessions create a big difference in their broad motor skills and with time, their fine motor skills also improve considerably. Depending on the degree of impairment, these centres also organise physical therapy, speech therapy, sensory perceptual stimulation and other activities such as yoga, gardening, painting and music.

Corrective Surgeries:

RDT collaborated with a Spanish medical organisation called ‘Orthopaedic Surgeons Volunteers’ to take their expert guidance and technical advice in performing corrective surgeries. Under this programme, a group of medical specialists in corrective injuries travel from Spain to Ananthapuram every year for a period of six months extending between September and February. Diagnostics camps are organised for screening patients in each area. After preliminary screening, a group of specialised orthopaedic surgeons, ortho-engineers and multipurpose rehabilitation technicians cover the area and screen the shortlisted beneficiaries for early detection of the problem and identify children/persons requiring aids and appliances, physiotherapy and surgical interventions to correct deformities.

Orthopaedics Workshops:

The Ananthapuram district of Andhra Pradesh has a government orthopaedic workshop in the city. For ease of access, RDT has established 4 orthopaedic workshops located at Kalyandurg (1992), Kuderu (1993), Bathalapalli (2000) and Kadiri (2003) in the district. The objective of these workshops is to assist children and adults with physical disability, to become more mobile by fabricating/supplying low cost aids/appliances such as crutches and callipers as well as artificial limbs (prosthesis). The workshops also deliver other supportive services such as physiotherapy and application of Plaster of Paris (POP) casts, particularly for children with clubfoot. Specialist technicians analyse each requirement and create specific prosthesis (artificial foot, limb) and orthopaedic aids necessary to promote autonomy and independence (crutches, callipers, walkers, wheelchairs, special chairs for children with cerebral palsy, tricycles, etc).

They also organise rehabilitation and physiotherapy sessions and guide the family on how to treat the person with disabilities and how to guide their rehabilitation at home.

For children in particular, specialised initiatives by the CBR sector are:

Vaccination programmes:

RDT works in collaboration with the Government to implement vaccination campaigns for children as a part of the government’s Pulse Polio programme.

Special Olympics:

Special Olympics Bharat– AP State collaborated in 2010 to organise national athletics championship for children with intellectual disabilities at RDT’s Ananthapuram Sports Village. After this starting point, many children with disabilities have participated in the Olympics World Games in Korea, Special Olympics World Games in Athens, and Asia Pacific Special Olympics Summer Games in Australia. A team of 13 girls and boys went to Los Angeles in August 2015 for the Special Olympics Games.. RDT’s PWD athletes bagged a total of 17 medals.

Cultural, art and quiz festivals:

RDT encourages school students to learn different arts through organising festivals and contests. Quiz festival and Art festival are conducted every year and Drama festival is conducted once in 2 years. These festivals are inclusive, where children with disability and children without disabilities participate and compete. Professors working with RDT also offer classes on cultural programmes to students in the centres for Children with Disabilities.

HIGHLIGHTS
 
STAFF SPEAK
 

Medical rehabilitation can take a lot of resources and funds. In many cases, PWDs can improve the quality of their lives if they can access medical help, but the reality is that they are often not able to do so. Even worse is that in many cases, the People with Disabilities are not even aware that medical intervention can help them. RDT’s initiatives have brought about a drastic change to the scenario and improved the lives of numerous PWDs.

Mr.Nagaraju,
Orthotic Engineer

SUCCESS STORY
 

My name is Balachandra and I was born to Boya Sunkanna and Anjinamma. At the age of eight, I accidentally fell under an ox and injured my knee. My parents presumed it to be a minor injury and neglected immediate medical action, however, the injury became severe after 4 days. While I was taken to a doctor for treatment, I could only crawl because of my injury and my parents had to carry me to school. Eventually, they were able to get better medical attention for me, but due to lack of knee movement and nerve damage, I could not walk normally and needed to support my knee by keeping my hand over it. Despite surgeries, there was no progressive movement in my leg.

At the insistence of the PWD Sangham members, my parents enrolled me at the Pre-Assessment Camp conducted by RDT in the year 2010. The Spanish doctors in the team examined me well and advised advanced surgery for my knee. However, my parents hesitated to take action since they felt they could not afford such a treatment. The Sangham played a vital role in persuading them that the surgery would be a free-of-cost and were asked to give their permission for the treatment. Eventually, my surgery was successfully performed at the RDT hospital at Bathalapalli, and soon, due to medicines and physiotherapy, I was able to walk without any support.

“I never thought I would be able to attend school or even walk properly. Today, I am leading a normal life – all thanks to RDT and the doctors.”

Balachandra,
Patlur Village, Vidapanakallu Mandal

PARADIGM SHIFT
 

With advanced rehabilitation and inclusive education facilities, families of people and children with disabilities now can focus on their personal development and family’s economic prosperity.

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