What is The Rehabilitation Council of India?
The Rehabilitation Council of India (RCI) was set up as a registered society in 1986.
Statutory status of RCI
On September 1992 the RCI Act was enacted by Parliament and it became a Statutory Body on 22 June 1993. The Act was amended by Parliament in 2000 to make it more broad-based.
What is the Mandate of RCI?
- The mandate given to RCI is to regulate and monitor services given to persons with disability,
- to standardise syllabi and to maintain a Central Rehabilitation Register of all qualified professionals and personnel working in the field of Rehabilitation and
- Special Education.
- The Act also prescribes punitive action against unqualified persons delivering services to persons with disability.
Other Policies for Rehabilitation in India?
Directive Principles of State Policy remarks that the State should deliver every possible help in case of:
- Old age
Laws in India to deal with disabilities
To empower people with disabilities, the Government of India has enacted the following legislation over the years:
What are the statutory rights of the people who need medical rehabilitation?
- Service by a qualified and trained rehab professional who has been registered by the Council.
- Maintenance of a certain standard of professional conduct by the rehabilitation providers. If not met, then the professionals face disciplinary action and even removal from RCI.
- Guarantee that all rehabilitation professionals are under the regulation of a statutory council, which comes under the preview of the central government.
Issues associated with rehabilitation in India
- Non-compliance with standards.
- Limited access to assistive devices. For example, hearing aid distributors found that the current production level of hearing aids only meets 10% of the worldwide need. In developing countries, that number is reduced to 3%! Of all the people who require hearing aid in countries like India and Africa, only 3% get them. Limited access to assistive devices leads to:
- Deterioration in health
- Restricted activity
- Constraint with Participation
- Increased dependency
- Reduced quality of life
- Rehab centres are limited to urban areas like Chennai. This centralisation and concentration of medical rehabilitation have left tier 2 and 3 cities with inadequate access to services.
- Another issue in India is the insufficient rehabilitation personnel with appropriate training and experience. The lack of proper physiatrists is a significant hurdle physical medicine and rehabilitation have to overcome.
What is the Way forward?
- More investment and financing are required so that every person in the nation can get easy access to rehab facilities.
- The supply and capacity of personnel need to be amplified. For this, education and training are a must; followed by recruitment and retention.
- The delivery of rehabilitation services must be integrated with the current healthcare system. For example, by coordinating with a hospital in Chennai, we are able to deliver crucial help to dozens of patients each year. It ensures early intervention which leads to more recovered patients.
- The last but not least step required to make the lives of those who live with disability better is assistive technology. More local manufacturing, reduction in taxes and good follow-up can make a world of difference.