The state has miserably failed in utilising the funds allotted for availing the services of physiotherapists in the Inclusive Education for Disabled Children (IEDC) scheme, alleged the Kerala Association for Physiotherapists’ Coordination (KAPC). The programme, mooted to provide students with physical disabilities free physiotherapy sessions, has been hampered by the lack of qualified physiotherapists to conduct the sessions.

From Disability News Asia

KOCHI, Mar 12: The state has miserably failed in utilising the funds allotted for availing the services of physiotherapists in the Inclusive Education for Disabled Children (IEDC) scheme, alleged the Kerala Association for Physiotherapists’ Coordination (KAPC).

According to some of its members, about Rs 2 lakh has been spent on each of the 164 block resource centres (BRCs) in the state to buy physiotherapy equipment as part of the project, which is being implemented in the country under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA). But the programme, mooted to provide students with physical disabilities free physiotherapy sessions, has been hampered by the lack of qualified physiotherapists to conduct the sessions.

The scheme to set up physiotherapy training centres at the BRCs was started on an experimental basis during the 2010-11 academic year in a few districts of the state. In the following year, the programme was extended to all the BRCs in the state.

In Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, each BRC has been provided with a qualified physiotherapist to conduct the sessions. But, Kerala has not appointed permanent physiotherapists at any of the centres. They are hired temporarily at a meager payment of `500 per session.

“In other states, the physiotherapists are permanently employed at each BRC for a monthly salary of Rs 15,000. Here they are paid `500 per session for a set of 8 sessions in a month. As the salary is peanuts, qualified physiotherapists are often reluctant to join the programme,” said Arun Kumar, the president of Kerala Association for Physiotherapists’ Coordination (KAPC).

The lack of continuity is another issue that hampers the implementation of the scheme. “For disabled children, continuous treatment is a must. While in most of the states, a three-hour training is given for five days per week, here it is done only twice a week. Since there are no permanent physiotherapists to treat the children, the sessions are often discontinued,” said a physiotherapist employed at a BRC in Ernakulam.

Moreover, physiotherapists are often appointed without properly scrutinising their qualifications. “A trained physiotherapist must have undergone a four-year course apart from additional training. But during our appointment, there was no verification of certificates,” said a physiotherapist.

Meanwhile, the state IEDC Project Officer said that it would not be possible to employ physiotherapists on a permanent basis considering the prevailing situation in the state.

“The issue here is that Kerala has a considerably large number of resource persons employed at the BRCs. While in other states the number of resource persons is around 100, here the figure goes up to 1618. We can spend only an amount of Rs 18,000 for each BRC. So under the present circumstances it is not possible to employ physiotherapists on a permanent basis”, said the Ahmad Kutty E, State Project Officer, IEDC.

Source: http://ibnlive.in.com

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