There district centers would be manned by trained persons, usually the local doctor or primary health care personnel who have been trained to provide rehabilitation services, Each of the disability centers would be accessible to people living to six contiguous districts.
The scheme would coordinate the services that can be provided by doctors, non–governmental organizations, local functionaries of the department of Women and Child Health and Family Welfare and Panchayat representatives in order to make it as cost–effective as possible.
For mild disabilities, the treatment could be provided at the local center itself, while more complicated or advanced cases would be referred to the nearest place where such facilities are available.
“The idea is to have a permanent place where people with disabilities can get some help. Right now they have nothing”, said Gandhi.
The rehabilitation services would cover ailments affecting hearing, sight and limbs. Alimco, the state–owned artificial limb manufacturing unit has shed its lethargy, and has stepped up its capacity from 11 per cent to 93 per cent. Four more branches of Alimco are also on the anvil.
Right now the efforts of the Ministry are concentrated on getting these 112 centers running. “Depending on their success, we can think of expanding the network”, say Gandhi.
“What is more important is that these centers should run on their own and reach out to people who do not have access to any rehabilitation services whatsoever”, she adds.