Abinaya, the orphaned hearing and speech impaired child, whose plans for a surgery ran into trouble due to lack of paperwork, is now set to receive a cochlear implant and rehabilitation therapy in Chennai.
The five-year-old’s surgery will be carried out under the Chief Minister’s comprehensive health insurance scheme at KKR ENT Hospital.
This came about, after the Department for Differently Abled gave a written undertaking to the health department and the Tamil Nadu Health Systems Project (TNHSP) stating that Abinaya would be under their care for the period of surgery and therapy, sources said.
The health department and the TNHSP have consented to her surgery following this undertaking.
Abinaya was found abandoned at a pilgrim centre in Madurai three years ago, and was taken to Bethany Children’s Home.
She was admitted to a school for the hearing impaired where she did well. A Delhi-based philanthropist S. Visalakshi, who offered to fund the child’s education, also arranged to have her examined by an ENT specialist, who referred her case to KKR ENT Hospital in Chennai.
But Abinaya did not have a birth certificate or ration card that would make her eligible for the implant under the Chief Minister’s comprehensive health insurance scheme. There were also other issues – Abinaya would have to stay in the city for a year for the mandatory post-surgery speech therapy. Someone needed to accompany her to the hospital’s resource centre in Maduravoyal for therapy for a year. The therapy is given in three-hour sessions thrice a week. She also needed to be trained at home during this period for best results.
An official of the Department for Differently Abled said it had adopted Abinaya for the period of her surgery and therapy.
“The home has agreed to pay for the attendant who will accompany the child to the therapy centre. The State Resource Centre has a qualified speech therapist and a special educator who will keep her occupied for the rest of the time. We have approached a couple of aided non-governmental organisations who have agreed to accommodate her till she is ready to return to Madurai. We will also continue her therapy with our special educators there,” the official said.
Ms. Visalakshi, who is originally from Madurai, said, “All I wanted was for her to be able to express herself and stand on her own legs. The credit goes to so many people. I appreciate the government’s attitude. It should be made known that those with disabilities are being taken care of by the State,” she said.
The Tamil Nadu Association for the Rights of all Types of Differently Abled and Caregivers has also welcomed the government’s decision.