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21 disabilities under RPWD 2016 - Chronic Neurological conditions

November 3, 2018

Today we will talk about Chronic Neurological conditions, one of the 21 disabilities that is covered under the RPWD ACT 2016.

Chronic Neurological conditions are a number of disorders related to central and peripheral nervous system. This includes the brain, spinal cord, cranial nerves, peripheral nerves, nerve roots, autonomic nervous system, neuromuscular junction, and muscles.

The RPWD Act defines chronic neurological conditions as "a condition that has its origin in some part of person's nervous system lasting for a long period or marked by frequent recurrence."

Some of the Chronic Neurological conditions are

- Epilepsy

- Dementias such as Alzheimer Disease

- Cerebrovascular Diseases including Stroke

- Migraine and other Headache Disorders

- Multiple Sclerosis

- Parkinson's Disease

- Brain Tumors

- Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

In fact there are more than 600 recognised neurological conditions which vary in severity and symptoms from person to person.

Most of the disorders need constant care, therapy, physiotherapy and treatment. Neurological disorders can affect person of any age and can start at any time in life.

Some of these disorders are caused due to nutritional deficiency and exposure to neurotoxic substances. While there are some other factors like infections of the nervous system such as tuberculosis, malaria, cysticercosis and viral infections, Japanese encephalitis and HIV also lead to neurological disorders.

According to data from the World Health Organization around one billion people suffer from neurological disorders across the world and 6.8 million people die every year from these disorders.

These disorders are a major cause of disability in India and affect the life of thousands of people in the country.

The disorders cause disabilities and symptoms such as

- Mobility impairment

- Cognition and behavior problems

- Acute or chronic pain

- Multiple disabilities and impairments

Many of the Neurological conditions do not have a specific treatment and can cause physical, mental, financial burden on the affected person and their families.

The situation is worse for people from financially weaker parts of the society as there is lack of awareness and availability of resources such as treatment and care.

Although the RPWD ACT 2016 mentions Epilepsy as one of the Chronic Neurological conditions, there is lack of clarity about the disability under the law. There is need for details to be added in the law regarding disorders such as epilepsy. The act does not give clear parameters or severity of certain disabilities and that creates confusion in some cases. Kavita Shanbhag, Founder & Managing Trustee of ChildRaise Trust

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