HYDERABAD: Multiple Sclerosis Patients (MSPs) in the city have been waiting for long to get their Unique Disability Identity Cards (UDIDs). This is mainly because the government uses a software, Sadarem (Software for Assessment of Disabled to Access Rehabilitation and Empowerment), which has a list of medical practitioners who can vet applications of the 200-odd multiple sclerosis patients. It, however, does not list any neurologist, who is empanelled to detect neurological disabilities.
Meena Gupta, chairperson of Multiple Sclerosis Society of India (MSSI), told Deccan Chronicle: “There are close to 150 MSPs who have filled in their disability form and sent the same. But only one or two of them have received a disability card. The problem that most of them face pertains to percentage of disability the MSP has. This is the only way to get a UDID through Sadarem.”
According to an MSP, who chose to remain anonymous, deciphering the amount or percentage of disability is a tough task. “The most common type of MS is relapsing-remitting form. During times of remission, I would have no disability. But during relapses, the percentage could go up to 70–80 percent. In such circumstances, it becomes difficult to decide what the disability percentage is.”
Speaking to Deccan Chronicle, B. Shailaja, director, welfare of disabled and senior citizens department, said: “For people to get a UDID, they must first apply for Sadarem. Data from this software goes to government of India, which issues the identity cards.”
However, to apply for the card, one needs a disability certificate, which spells the amount of disability one has. For this, MSPs are given a list of medical practitioners who can certify the level of disability. Unfortunately for MSPs, there is no neurologist, who is part of these practitioners.
“It is only a neurologist who can certify the amount of disability,” underlined Meena Gupta. Even Shailaja, admitted that there are no neurologists in the group of medical practitioners as of now. “Earlier, only seven disabilities were listed for getting UDIDs. These have now increased to 21. We have to get medical experts, who can assist us with all of them,” Shailaja added.