In 1991 DCCW set up the Orthopaedic Centre in Janakpuri, West Delhi, to provide a complete range of rehabilitation services to physically disabled children, especially those affected by polio. The services include surgery, physiotherapy, fitment of aids and appliances and vocational training, and are available under one roof and virtually free of cost to the children. To date:
• More than 9,000 surgeries have been performed
• Over 25,000 children have been fitted with aids
Polio is now on the path to eradication in India. However until 2009 India had one of the largest incidences of polio. Most of those afflicted belong to the economically weaker sections of society.Their parents lack the awareness and resources to provide the necessary treatment to their children. In order to address this desperate need, DCCW started a mobile orthopaedic programme in 1987 to carry orthopaedic services to the doorsteps of these children.
The services available at the Orthopaedic Centre include:
- Surgery: Orthopaedic surgeons on DCCW’s panel assess the children in weekly OPDs and conduct surgeries, in their fully equipped theatres. The surgeries performed include Minor, Major and Specialized surgery, in single or multiple stages.
- Pre- and post-operative care: There are separate wards for boys and girls at the Centre. Children requiring surgery are admitted into the wards for pre-surgery tests and for post-operative recovery and follow-up treatment. Surgeons conduct regular rounds of the wards to monitor their recuperation.
- In-house Workshop to manufacture Aids and Appliances: The in-house Orthotics Workshop, under the supervision of the Chief Orthotist, manufactures aids and appliances, which are supplied to the children at the Centre and to children from the camps.
- Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy: The Physiotherapy Department attends to patients from the wards, the crèche, the vocational training unit at the Centre and the patients’ attending the OPD. Yoga is also taught to the physically challenged children in the wards and those attending the Vocational Training Programme.
In addition, the following services are provided to the children here:
- Counselling for Children: Assessment by a clinical psychologist and guidance and counselling for children at the Orthopaedic Centre waiting to be operated, are part of the preparatory procedures prior to surgery. Sex education and career counselling is also provided to older children in the wards and in Vocational Training.
- Counselling for Parents : Parent workshops are held to train, counsel and spread awareness on issues like hygiene, nutrition, importance of follow-up regimens, use of orthotic aids and appliances etc.
- Vocational Training: The final stage of the rehabilitation process at the Orthopaedic Centre is vocational training where physically challenged children are encouraged to get back onto their feet in every possible way.
It was observed that a large number of polio-affected children reporting at the OPD in the Orthopaedic Centre were from neighbouring states. So DCCW started the Outreach Programme in 1993 to extend its orthopaedic services further into the rural hinterland in the states of Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradeshwhere polio was widespread. This programme plays a significant role in delivering a package of medical and rehabilitation services to children from the most economically deprived families living in areas that have no access to the necessary health facilities.
The Outreach Programme is a two-pronged programme of Camps and Centres. Camps are conducted in collaboration with local authorities and NGOs to assess patients and organize their treatment and follow-up. Patients requiring surgery are referred to the Orthopaedic Centre. Children are measured for aids and appliances at the camps, which are then supplied to the child through the local NGO. In select areas, a centre is set up to provide continued physiotherapy and to monitor the rehabilitation requirements of old patients.
The local NGOs are responsible for mobilizing parents and children, creating awareness among the community on issues concerning childhood disability and its treatment, educating parents on their role in the care of their child and ensuring that the appropriate medical services reach the children.