Thursday, February 18, 2010

Now some "Action Plan" to set things right at Asha Kiran

Dear Friends,

This is subsequent to my earlier posts on continued deaths of inmates at Asha Kiran - A Govt. Run home for Intellectually challenged persons. Now after several deaths in a row and mass agitation by Civil Society, finally Delhi Government seems to have woken up to the mess that has been created at the Govt. run home for the Intellectually Challenged persons. This indicates that persons with disabilities with no family support are not the priority of the Government. 

I have three major objections to this process:

(a)  It is surprising to know that no civil society organisations/stakeholders were invited to the meeting.
(b)  Secondly appointing contractual employees in these centres will not improve the conditions unless they are given decent wages.
(c) Thirdly though the Delhi Govt has admitted lapses on the part of authorities, there is no criminal action on the persons responsible indicating how Delhi Govt. values lives of persons with disabilities!
(d) The whole process of managing the action plan seems to be medically oriented with Doctors treating the patients! There is no rehabilitation professional involvement nor is any thing being discussed to ensure their social political rights, Right to education for children under 18 years, vocational training etc.

I wonder whether the thought process in the political class has undergone any change in light of  India proudly signing UNCRPD ! There is no doubt that  involving civil society, National Trust and Rehabilitation Professionals will give more credibility to the Government's action plan and the Government should seriously consider this for in absence of this and given the past expereince, we might see the condition of these homes "back to Square one"!

Here is the coverage from Zee News and Times of India on the subject.

regards
SC Vashishth, Advocate


Delhi Govt. Brings Action Plan : Zee News

New Delhi: Under attack for a spate of deaths at an observation home run by it for the mentally challenged, Delhi Government on Wednesday came out with a time-bound action plan to ensure proper care and medical facilities for the inmates.


As per the action plan, some of the over 700 inmates at the Asha Kiran Home would be transferred to three buildings within next two months to decongest the existing home so that each mentally challenged child get proper care and attention.

The Government also decided to deploy well-equipped ambulances and upgrade other infrastructure at the home which witnessed 26 deaths in the last five months. Two inmates had died last week while one breathed his last on Monday.

The action plan was finalised at a high-level meeting, chaired by Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and attended by Finance Minister A K Walia, Social Welfare Minister Mangat Ram Singhal, Health Minister Kiran Walia and Chief Secretary Rakesh Mehta, besides several top officials.

The meeting decided to initiate a series of short-term and long-term measures to overcome existing deficiencies at the home. The home is being maintained by the Social Welfare department.

Yesterday, Dikshit had admitted lapses on the part of authorities and said over 700 inmates were staying at the home against the sanctioned strength of 300.

In the meeting, it was also decided to appoint more attendants on contract basis to ensure proper care of the children.

"To overcome the situation of over-crowding in the Home, it was decided to shift inmates to three other existing buildings, which are being upgraded," an official said.

He said an expert team of the doctors will guide the authorities to shift the inmates. The meeting also decided to appoint separate administrators for the new homes.

Further, a special ward at Ambedkar Hospital is being readied to provide treatment to those inmates who may require hospitalisation, the official said.

Dikshit also instructed the health department to deploy three well-equipped ambulances for the inmates. Apart from this, mental health experts will be visiting the Home on regular interval for check-up of the inmates.

The Chief Minister also instructed authorities to conduct review of all existing homes so that no such incident takes place in future.

Walia and Singhal had visited the home on Monday and suggested a series of measures, including upgrading the shelter to a mini-hospital.
PTI



Finally, Asha Kiran inmates to be shifted : Times of India


TNN, Feb 18, 2010, 12.46am IST
NEW DELHI: After years of neglect and many deaths, the government has finally spelt out relief for inmates of the Asha Kiran home for the mentally challenged in Rohini. What was being proposed for over a decade is now being promised by chief minister Sheila Dikshit who has set a deadline to decongest the overcrowded home by shifting its inmates to three other buildings. One building in Bindapur and two others in rural areas are being upgraded for the purpose. The home as of now has space for 350 but it houses over 700 inmates.


Shifting will be undertaken on the basis of the gravity of the inmates' mental retardation.

The segregation will also be need-based. An expert team of doctors will guide the segregation process. There will be a separate administrator for the three buildings who will be fully responsible for the running of the home and will be accountable for all actions, CM Sheila Dikshit made it clear at a high level meeting on Wednesday.

Further, a special ward at Dr Ambedkar Hospital is being prepared to provide treatment to those inmates who may need hospitalization. The chief minister expressed confidence that there will be a positive change at Asha Kiran within two months.

The meeting, chaired by the CM, was attended by Finance Minister Dr AK Walia, Social Welfare Minister Mangat Ram Singhal, Health Minister Kiran Walia, Chief Secretary Rakesh Mehta, Principal Secretary (Finance) JP Singh, Secretary (Social Welfare) Manoj Parida, Director (IHBAS) and other senior officers of concerned departments.

Dikshit instructed officials to conduct a review of all existing homes so that no untoward incident takes place in future. To cope with the extreme shortage of staff, it was decided to employ attendants on a contractual basis.

Dikshit also said three well-equipped ambulances will be deployed at the home. The ambulances will act like mobile hospitals. Experts from Institute of Human Behaviour and Allied Sciences will visit Asha Kiran regularly.

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