The departments of Health and Social Justice are launching a major joint initiative to tackle childhood disabilities through the early identification of developmental delays and disabilities and early interventions so that these conditions do not become permanent or debilitating.
District Early Intervention Centres (DEICs) will soon be opened in every district hospital and this will be the first point of screening for developmental delays and disabilities in children in the 0-6 years age group.
The DEICs will have a special team consisting of a doctor, paediatrician, dental hygienist, audiologist, speech therapist, psychologist, optometrist, and a special educator/social worker, who will screen children for developmental delays or disabilities, suggest and manage suitable interventions, with referral support to those who may require a higher level of medical intervention.
The NRHM is now in the process of appointing these specialists on contract basis as the health system does not have adequate personnel to deliver these services.
Central programme While the Health Department is taking up this initiative under the Centrally sponsored health screening programme for children from 0-18 years, the Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram (RBSK) launched last year, the Social Justice Department is supporting the programme under its State