In India there are 20.42 lakh disabled children who are aged between 0 and 6 years. Out of which 14.52 lakh and 5.9 lakh children live in rural and urban areas respectively. Of them, 11.04 lakh are male and 9.38 lakh are female children. Among them, 1.49 lakh children have multiple disabilities.
Boehringer Ingelheim, one of the world’s leading pharmaceutical company, has inaugurated ‘first-of-its-kind’ facility for children with multiple disability at Bai Jerbai Wadia Hospital in association with Muskan foundation. The program in Mumbai, designed with an aim to train the visually impaired children accompanied by an additional disabilities to help communicate effectively and develop modification to their behaviour essential for their daily routine. The facility was inaugurated by Manuela Pastore, Global Director as a part of the social entrepreneurial initiative Making More health at Boehringer Ingelheim.
Explaining the thought process behind the association, Sharad Tyagi, Managing Director, Boehringer Ingelheim said, “We wish to reinforce the importance of having a normal life for children with special needs and this initiative is a step in that direction. This is one of the many programs undertaken by us to fulfil our commitment towards the people of the country. At the facility, we hope to enable the children with multiple disabilities lead a normal life.”
Ms. Dipti Gandhi, Hon Director of Muskan Foundation for People with Multiple Disabilities said, “Through this unique facility we have tried to touch the lives of 102 children who are visually impaired accompanied by an additional disability, out of which 10 children come from outside Mumbai to get trained at our centre. At the centre, we have an Individual education program, specially designed keeping in mind the needs and requirements of every child for his growth. We have planned a multi-facet program to train these children which includes a therapist, parent, and a special educator”.
Emphasizing on the unique initiative at the hospital, Dr. Minnie Bodhanwala, CEO of Bai Jerbai Wadia Hospital for Children said “The initiative is planned keeping in mind the entire medical and mental support system necessary for children with special needs. As we have a hospital thoughtfully designed for children, unique facility to train children with multiple disabilities was a need. We have special programs designed considering a totally new approach required for every child who enrols”
At the Facility, the children are trained to manage their disabilities with a multi-disciplinary approach to ensure that they are able to make a lasting difference in their health and life. While the facility also focuses on educating the parents who will then receive comprehensive training for effective management of these children at home.
Currently the facility has over 100+ children with multiple disabilities like blindness, deafness, cerebral palsy etc.