Mumbai A month after the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) announced setting up a first-of-its-kind early intervention and rehabilitation centre for children with special needs in its budget 2022-23, the civic body has set up a task force to fast track the project to ensure the centre is up and ready in May.
The centre, which will be located in Byculla, will provide all medical facilities and therapy to children with any physical disability, mental disability, down syndrome, incapacity, autism, cerebral palsy, etc.
Suresh Kakani, the additional municipal commissioner, said, “We have set up the taskforce for monitoring and early activation of the facility.” He said the task force has an administrative in-charge and a clinical team led by BYL Nair Hospital.
The task force had its first meeting last week and plans to start seeing patients from May. At present, BMC-run hospitals are involved with diagnosis, giving acute treatment and issuing certifications.
The centre, which will come up across a 36,000 sq ft area in Nagpada-Byculla, is a first-of-its kind public set-up in Mumbai that will provide all medical facilities & therapy to children who suffer from various syndromes like physical disability, mental disability, down syndrome, incapacity, autism, cerebral palsy.
Shishir Joshi, chief executive officer and founder of Project Mumbai, who is part of the task force said, “Relevance and focus on mental health is extremely paramount. Early intervention and support will result in several options and opportunities even for families to look for wellness options for children. This centre will be a blessing in disguise to hundreds of thousands of families battling with emotional health concerns of their children.”
Developmental paediatricians have welcomed the BMC’s decision to fast track the project saying it is the need of the hour for many children with special needs as their parents have a tough time managing their treatment.
Dr Samir Dalwai, consultant developmental-behavioural paediatrician, Nanavati Max Hospital said, “It is heartening to see the civic body recognising that children with special needs require a separate specialised approach. It can’t be clubbed with adults. These children need an outcome-oriented approach.” He said the city needs ten more centres like this to cater to the needs of this population.
Archana Chandra, chief executive officer of Parel-based Jai Vakeel Foundation that works in the area of intellectual and developmental disabilities said for any child with special needs, diagnosis is just the beginning of a lifelong journey where a rehabilitation centre plays a key role.
“Post diagnosis, the child needs services and support that can help her/him with developmental delays. We need such centres to handhold them through the journey. Many times the cost of the interventions become a deterrent factor for the parents and the child. BMC’s centre will be a boon for such children and their parents,” said Chandra.