Kerala NGO demands formation of medical board & issuance of disability certificates post lockdown
Due to lockdown, medical boards in Kerala where disability certificates are issues have not been formed. The organisation All Kerala Wheelchair Rights Federation is demanding for speedy action.
India’s disabled community is one of the worst affected due to lockdown. Since it has only been partially removed in some parts of the country, the hardships and woes continue. All Kerala Wheelchair Rights Federation (AKWRF), an organisation that empowers wheelchair users in the state have pointed out that lack of proper functioning of the medical boards have affected disabled people across the state. They are unable to get disability certificates due to which many are affected.
Medical boards needed urgently
The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act 2016 makes it mandatory for all disabled people to be provided with a disability certificate. These certificates are inevitable for getting pensions and other disability related schemes. These certificates can be issued only by a competent medical board headed by the District Medical Officer (DMO). The board that consists of experts from the medical field including orthopaedic, psychology/neurology specialists, ENT and so on are formed in every district.
The board is formed every month. But since past two months, they have been unable to do it. Due to lockdown, medical officers have not made it to work either. People with disabilities across the state are now affected. The state government has introduced some benefits and schemes for disabled people as part of Coronavirus and lockdown. Due to lack of certificates, they are unable to avail even that!
Schools have reopened, though most of them are online. So even parents of disabled children are now wondering how to admit their children into schools without the right documents. Apart from members of AKWRF, students and parents also wants the board to be formed without further delay.
Members of the AKWRF in Malappuram have discussed this with DMO’s who have assured speedy action.
Saleem K, President, AKWRF, Malappuram says, “Even to apply for UDID cards, we need the disability certificates. These certificates are the most crucial document to avail any benefits for a disabled person. Some people also needs to renew it. When we spoke to the DMO, she said that she will assure that the board is formed very soon. But we need to see how fast this is going to be done. This is not just a problem faced in Malappuram, but across Kerala. After the lockdown has eased, the board has not yet been formed”.
Jomy Joseph, a member of AKWRF from Malappuram adds to Saleem’s statement. “Malappuram is undoubtedly one of the worst affected places where disabled people are struggling to get their certificates. There are many students who need scholarships too. The first point to prove our disability is the government approved certificate. That is why the government must speed up the process and take necessary steps to form medical board at the earliest”, he says.
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