11 january 2013
Assessment of extent of a disability in any person will now be aided by a new software introduced by the state health department to avoid any human error in the process.
The software was necessitated after there were complaints of subjectivity creeping in during assessment by Medical Boards appointed to issue disability certificates needed by physically challenged persons to avail themselves of the 3 per cent quota in government jobs. The software will certify the extent of disability and issue a certificate online.
The system has been operational in Pune at the Aundh district hospital since January 1. Nearly 560 physically challenged people have been issued disability certificates using the new software across the state.
Additional Chief Secretary (Health) T C Benjamin told Pune Newsline that the software that rolled out less than a month back can certify the extent of disability including vision and hearing impairment among others.
The All India Institute of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Haji Ali, Mumbai, has helped the state health department to define 140 parameters for assessing locomotive disability and the software to assess this disability will be rolled out in district hospitals, medical colleges and hospitals on January 18.
Pune district civil surgeon Dr Vinayak More told Newsline that every Wednesday, a team of doctors will evaluate physically challenged persons at the district hospital and feed the data into the computer for the new software to evaluate the extent of disability.
The certificates will be crucial in determining whether a person is entitled to reservation under the physically challenged category in government jobs, as mandated by the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995. Those with at least 40% disability are entitled to the reservation under this category.
Benjamin said there were complaints that certificates issued were subjective and that there was misuse and corruption. The health department’s move to introduce the software was to check any malpractice.
A lot of information based on standards prescribed by the Persons with Disabilities Act and other relevant data have been fed into the software. Physically challenged persons will also be given an identification number so that they can avail themselves of treatment at any government hospital in the state.
At B J Medical College and Sassoon General Hospital, and other government medical colleges and hospitals, the protocol will be more or less the same.
All that the team of doctors have to do is take a picture of the physically handicapped person, make an assessment of disability as per parameters set in the software and feed details into the computer. “So far, we have assessed 560 physically handicapped persons and issued them certificates,” Benjamin said.