District sees rise in number of mentally retarded cases

When Arman Mansuri (13) first came to a special school for mentally retarded children, he was in the high-risk category with completely non-functional limbs. It took months of persuasion before his parents could be finally convinced. Jheel Patel (9), a patient of cerebral palsy with uncontrollable hyperactivity, was in no better condition.

Mental retardation is one area among the differently-abled that has seen a statistical rise over a period of time. In the latest survey details available with the Social Security Department, out of 12,368 differently-abled registered in Vadodara, 1,593 were suffering from mental retardation. The number stands only second to the people affected by physical disability.

People working in the field feel that the main reason behind the failure to bring down the numbers and take effective measures is the inability to reach to the affected population, especially those who fall in the Below Poverty Line (BPL) category.

P R Patel, Chief Probation Officer, Vadodara said: "The well off section of society is certainly doing its part. But we are more concerned about the economically backward population, who are neither getting the prerequisite benefits, nor coming forward to avail the medical aid financial benefits given to them."

According to Sharmishta Ghosh, principal of Karishma Special School, Kashiben Gordhandas Patel (KGP) Children Hospital, the major restrain sited here is social stigma. She said: "Although mental retardation cannot be completely cured, medical assistance can improve the situation. But it is very difficult on our part to convince them to admit their children or give them treatment."

Among others, malnutrition in expectant mothers, manual labour even in the high risk period of pregnancy, the prevalence of child marriage and marriages among blood relations also lead to the rise in the number of mental retardation cases in the progeny.

"Since most of the mothers are into labour work, mishandling of the new born or the unborn child during work lead to situations of cerebral palsy and mental retardation in children," said Dr Sejal Surti, a gynaecologist at the KGP Hospital. Dr Surti adds: "Also, most deliveries in slums are done without proper medical assistance, and many such cases happen due to mishandling during the delivery and convolutions among expectant mothers. It is difficult to reach them, as they do not accept medical assistance."

Please read our terms of use before posting comments
TERMS OF USE: The views, opinions and comments posted are your, and are not endorsed by this website. You shall be solely responsible for the comment posted here. The website reserves the right to delete, reject, or otherwise remove any views, opinions and comments posted or part thereof. You shall ensure that the comment is not inflammatory, abusive, derogatory, defamatory &/or obscene, or contain pornographic matter and/or does not constitute hate mail, or violate privacy of any person (s) or breach confidentiality or otherwise is illegal, immoral or contrary to public policy. Nor should it contain anything infringing copyright &/or intellectual property rights of any person(s).
comments powered by Disqus