A challenge to home inmates

The institute for mentally challenged children has no psychiatrist

A challenge to home inmates

But the Institute for Mentally Challenged Child Care, run by the State Women and Child Welfare department - where Chandra resides - does not have a single in-house doctor to attend to the needs of youngsters like him.

Each time Chandra or the other 68 residents at the institute need treatment, they are taken to the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (Nimhans).

According to probationary officer Muktabai, only a general physician visits the institute.
“Psychiatrists and psychologists are available only at their offices and we take the children there once a week, on appointment,” she said.

Gross neglect of these children’s mental health and their physical upkeep came to light on Monday evening when Commissioner for Disabilities K V Rajanna conducted a “surprise” inspection of the institute, though he realised only on landing there that it did not fall under his jurisdiction, but came under the Women and Child Welfare Department.

However, he directed the officials concerned to provide better facilities and care for the mentally challenged children. Rajanna said people had been complaining about the unhygienic conditions at the institute. “I have found some glaring loopholes in its maintenance,” he said.

While Rajanna suspects information about his visit was leaked by his office to the institute officials allowing them enough time to clean the place, the officials said there was no problem with its maintenance.

“I strongly suspect that information of my inspection was leaked by my office. Hence, we are seeing a better picture than what I got to know,” Rajanna said.

He said the lack of wheelchairs for the movement of disabled children was quite shocking.
“The State gets up to Rs 15 crore a year to make the City disabled-friendly. Yet, this is the status,” he said.

Rajanna noted that physiotherapy was ignored in the homes for the mentally challenged. He has directed that weekly reports be sent on the progress at homes for the mentally challenged. 

Rajanna inspected three homes on Monday, one for the boys below 17 years, one for women and another for men above 18. A Welfare Board Committee meeting is scheduled on December 29 to discuss issues related to the Disabilities Department.

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