Polio Foundation is engaged in the services to disabled persons since 18 years. Apart from providing services in local hospital, Polio Foundation is organizing camps all over Gujarat and also in neighboring states for diagnosis and corrective surgery. Among these disabled persons many suffer from “Cerebral Palsy” which is a condition where patients have physical disability due to spasticity (tightness) due to damage to the brain either before or immediately after birth in childhood with or without mental retardation.
As per the latest census, 2.41% of the total population of India is handicapped. But this does not give the actual picture, since it is believed by specialists that the actual figure may be much higher, given the facts that various families do not give the correct information leading to an incorrect calculation. Hence the actual figure can be pegged at a much higher 5%.
Of the total handicapped population of India, 50% of the reasons are congenital (birth defect) and the major chunk of the congenital defects is Cerebral Palsy. It is believed that for every 250 births, one child suffers from cerebral palsy.
30% of children attending our diagnostic camps were found suffering from Cerebral Palsy. These children need completely different management and can not be rehabilitated by straightforward corrective operations as in the case of Polio patient. They require accurate diagnosis done by a team of different specialists. Their rehabilitation programme includes not only physiotherapy but also occupation therapy, speech therapy, play therapy, sensory integration, activity for daily living, special education and measures to reduce the spasticity by giving injection botulium toxin type A in to severely affected groups of muscles. Their family members also need special training to cope with these disabilities of the child at home and make life smooth for them.
Facilities at Polio Foundation
Our center is situated in the heart of the city in Ahmedabad and very near from Ahmedabad Railway station and Main State Transport Bus Stand. The walled city of Ahmedabad and east Ahmedabad has a high population of middle income group and poor families, thus maximum benefit of such facilities will be availed by most needy people.
To meet with the needs of this special group of patients we started our C.P. Unit in January, 1999 and many children have undergone consultation and have been diagnosed and their rehabilitation programmes were planned out and executed by our team of dedicated and specialist therapists. We are also running a Day Care Unit for such children with a view to provide them education along with different therapies every day. For patients coming from outside Ahmedabad a special Home Bound Programme has been instituted. In this programme, parents and the C.P. child stay at our hospital and parents are given initial training about physiotherapy, occupation therapy etc. on extensive scale for 7 days. After returning home this training is continued for one month and then a child is called for follow up to assess the progress made by them at home and further goal are decided and parents are taught to execute the therapy at home.
All the care and training is provided under one roof and we have team of experts from all fields.
Also for children studying in our day care center, different events are organized and festivals are celebrated in company of handicapped children, their parents with active participation of all members of the team.
“Cerebral Palsy” is an even greater challenge and that itself is a justification for running special C.P. Unit in the very same place where disabled persons have been coming with great hopes in their hearts for nearly two decades. The figures of our performance in last three years are just a humble beginning but we are hoping to expand this work to meet with complete need of patients, families and society at large.
At our Cerebral Palsy Unit we have regular out patient department where new patients are examined and advised their future course of management .We have following specialists to examine, and chart future rehabilitation plan for the child.
2) Orthopedic Surgeon
6) Occupational Therapist
7) Speech Therapist
8) Clinical Psychologist
9) Pediatric Neurologist
10) Special Educator
All the efforts involved in treatment and rehabilitation of Cerebral Palsy can give best results if the process is started at an early age. Therefore, we have started early intervention programme. It includes diagnostic, therapeutic and other treatment programmes for early diagnosis and treatment of children suffering from cerebral palsy..
What is the need to expand?
As per our information, there are only two institutions in Gujarat who cater to all the needs that are required for the proper treatment, care and management.
They are –
(i) PNR society, Bhavnagar
(ii) Polio Foundation, Ahmedabad
Polio Foundation is quite adept and capable to handle complete growth and development of children suffering from cerebral palsy. Yet since the project has grown tremendously
in the past few years, the foundation has been facing problems at two distinct levels. These include –
(i) space constraints
(ii) lack of trained individuals in society
Because a large population of Cerebral Palsied children are scattered through Gujarat and specially in the rural areas, we also wish to start satellite centers so that we can provide necessary services to every Cerebral Palsied individual. Therefore we are planning to train professionals who will be required in adequate quantity.
At present the foundation is running from a moderate sized building present in the heart of the city. Hence it becomes tough to provide facilities of school bus, ambulance and playground for the children. Moreover, because of the structure of the building, all facilities are not housed on one floor and consequently the children are required to be moved to three different floors for their day to day activities. The physiotherapy and occupational therapy unit are on the first floor while the special school (D.C.U) is housed in another part of the building. The sensory stimulation unit is situated on the second floor while the A.D.L. unit is situated on the third floor. It is necessary to have all these facilities on one particular floor.
AUDA has been instrumental in providing a 5,500 sq. yd land where the newly constructed institute is coming up with all latest facilities and amenities required for the treatment, management and care of children born with congenital deformities including cerebral palsy, polio, etc.
The foundation is also planning to start a full fledged college or institution for the training and education of special instructors. The initial curriculum will include teacher training for:-
(i) Special teacher training course for cerebral palsy – D.S.E. (C.P.)
The only place having this course is at PNR society, Bhavnagar. We have already applied to the Rehabilitation Council of India for permission to run this course at our foundation.
(ii) Bachelor course in occupational therapy – B.O.T.
We hope to receive recognition from Gujarat University for this course.