Despite being awarded as the second-best in the country in providing rehabilitation service to specially-abled, more than 42 percent specially-abled struggled to manage basic routine medical assistance during Covid-19 lockdown, according to a study conducted across 14 states including Madhya Pradesh by Murthy GVS, Kamalakannan S, Lewis MG, Sadanand S and Tetali S.
Indore was the hotspot for Covid-19 cases in first and second wave. This resulted in strict norms and protocols in the city due to which everyone faced difficulties, but the specially-abled suffered more.
They failed to go for their physiotherapy, dialysis or counselling sessions and also faced additional difficulty in getting medical appointments.
There are about 15.5 lakh (15,51,931) people suffering from disabilities in Madhya Pradesh as per govt statistics.
Fear brought panic: No medical appointments & basic care
The published study showed that 2 out of every five people (42.5%) with disability reported that lockdown had made it difficult for them to access routine medical care.
It further added that nearly a quarter reported difficulties in getting their medications while 28% reported postponing their scheduled medical appointments because of the lockdown.
More than half the persons with disability perceived that continuous lockdown would have a deleterious effect on their health. Further, the chances of new variant spreading and another lockdown is creating panic among many.
Physiotherapy became a major challenge
Among the 17% needing rehabilitation services, 59.4% failed to access the same, the study said.
In the response, most people needing rehabilitation services said it was for physiotherapy which was compromised during the lockdown.
81.6% struggled with mental health issues, lost jobs
Most of all, the mental side-effects of challenging times took a toll on the health of specially-abled people. They were afraid of getting infected with coronavirus.
Further, loss of income were affected the specially-abled people the most. Most of them were asked to leave before others, labelling them to be at high health risk.
About 81.6% reported experiencing moderate to high levels of stress, as per the study.
This shows that there is an urgent need to ramp up mental health support services for persons with disabilities.
Indore is doing good with rehabilitation
In the national awards, Indore was awarded as the best district in providing rehabilitation service by the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities in the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment, Government of India.
Indore has been able to provide the basic facilities and utilities for specially-abled persons in the city. Ramps and other constructions are there in public areas to make it more specially-abled friendly. However, the struggle of the specially-abled is still there in Indore and across the country.
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