KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah on Sunday inaugurated the Multidisciplinary Pediatric Rehab Services Department (MPRSD) of Dow University of Health Sciences for differently-abled children.
The chief minister said that leading world scientists like Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking were not normal, as the former had speech problem and the latter is crippled, but their success stories are enough to learn that the differently-abled children could be made useful for the society with proper care, treatment and rehabilitation.
“This depends on the society particularly on their parents how they are rehabilitating their differently-abled children,” he said. “We can make Einstein and Hawking out of them.”
He said that he was ready to establish such rehabilitation centres in all district headquarter hospitals, with the expertise of the MPRSD of the Dow University, and the proper and sagacious use of funds.
CM Sindh said that he displeased to see the plight of the area where Dow University has established its rehabilitation center, including dilapidated roads, domestic filth and garbage and encroachments. “This is the area where I was born and spent my early life on M.A Jinnah road. I would restore its past glories,” he vowed.
The department head Professor Nabeela Soomro briefed the CM Sindh about multidisciplinary services for children with autism at Institute of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Dow University of Health Sciences.
She said that approximately ten percent of the population in Pakistan is facing disabilities and this is increasing due to different health issues such as diabetes, hypertension, pre-mature births, poor antenatal, natal, postnatal care, bomb blasts, earthquakes, traffic accidents, violence and congenital abnormalities.
She said that hospitals in all the developed countries have their Institute of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, and even our neighbouring countries have multiple rehabilitation institutes in their medical universities and tertiary care hospitals catering to the multidisciplinary rehabilitation management of disabled sector of the society.
Dr Soomro said that work in rehabilitation medicine is nascent in Pakistan, and DUHS was the first civilian institute in Pakistan offering multidisciplinary rehabilitation services from 2007.
The patients at the institute are stroke, spinal cord injury, post-polio, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, musculoskeletal disorders, cardiological disorders, language, swallowing and audiological disorders, autism, myopathy, neuropathy, amputees and other disabilities.
She said that autism is on the rise not only in the country but also globally. Autism is a neurological developmental disorder characterised by deficits in communication, social interaction and repetitive behavior.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the prevalence of autism spectrum disorder identified among one in 68 in United States. In Pakistan, although statistics of children with autism is not available but the number of cases reported both in public and private sector indicate a rapid increase in the country.
Institute of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation took the initiative of opening up the first autism unit that would provide multidisciplinary rehabilitation services to children with autism.
These services can be availed by children from all sections of the society on nominal charges. There are currently 150 children enrolled but many still are on the wait list indicating that more similar units are required.
The chief minister visited different rehabilitation wards and met with the children and appreciated the work being done at the center.