Speakers at a seminar on muscular dystrophy have presented to the State government a slew of proposals to improve treatment and care of persons with the debilitating condition.

Muscular dystrophy is a hereditary disease which affects the muscles and nerves, resulting in the person remaining dependent on a wheelchair for life.

The rehabilitation medicine experts, who were participating in a seminar organised on Thursday at the Government Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine, K.K.Nagar (GIRM) as part of the International Day of the Differently Abled, called for establishment of clinics for muscular dystrophy in every medical college and district headquarter hospitals. Such clinics would ensure that patients can be referred to the tertiary hospital for further treatment, they said.

According to speakers at the seminar which was inaugurated by Director of Public Health R.T. Porkaipandian, in certain areas in the State there were more persons with muscular dystrophy but they remained undiagnosed and hence received no treatment.

The speakers also urged the government to conduct Statewide statistical disease surveillance. “As a pilot study, a northern district and a southern district should be taken up,” said GIRM Director R. Chinnathurai. “We need a separate ward for muscular dystrophy patients. There is need for a diagnostic centre that would include a genetic laboratory to conduct muscle testing and enzyme studies in the State. The laboratory could be established in either the Government General Hospital or the Institute of Child Health,” he said.

Testing for the genetic condition would enable doctors to identify the mutation in genes and classify the disease accordingly, said V. Viswanathan, founder president of Muscular Dystrophy Association. He said technical expertise could be sought to fabricate mobility aid to suit the needs of the patients.

The speakers also recommended that medical and surgical treatment of the patients should be brought under the health insurance scheme of the State government.

The government benefits to such persons should be increased on a par with what is given to persons with multiple disabilities, they added.

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Health & LifestyleSeptember 24, 2010