Tamil Nadu’s Health Department, through a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with UK’s Kings College Hospital, will impart training to doctors on advanced treatment protocols for neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, Health Secretary Beela Rajesh said.
Shortly after releasing a video to create awareness on Parkinson’s disease on Wednesday, she said the Kings College Hospital, in the first phase, was focussing on neurological disorders. The MoU was signed during the visit of Chief Minister and Health Minister to the UK.
“The first focus is on bringing in treatment protocols for neurological disorders. There are advanced treatment protocols in many foreign countries. We will be training our doctors and starting the procedures here,” she said. Hands-on training and demonstrations would also be organised for doctors, she added.
As per an announcement in the Assembly, a neurological rehabilitation unit will be established at the Government Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine, K.K. Nagar at a cost of ₹64 crore. “When a person is diagnosed with a neuro-degenerative disease and is prescribed medicines, he/she also needs therapy on a long-term basis. They may require physiotherapy and cognitive therapy. This unit will cater to these needs. We are forming an expert committee to establish this unit and the views of survivors and NGOs will be obtained,” she added.
The release of the video, ‘Dancing with a stranger’, was jointly organised by SAAR Foundation (Support Awareness Action Rehabilitate) And IAPG (Indian Alliance of Patient Groups). The video features Shanthipriya Siva, an ophthalmologist who was diagnosed with young onset Parkinson’s eight years ago.
“Parkinson’s disease is a chronic neuro-degenerative progressive disorder. Approximately, one per cent of those aged above 60 years suffer from Parkinson’s. When it affects persons before the age of 40, it is known as young onset Parkinson’s disease. There are problems of late diagnosis, social stigma and lack of awareness among patients and caregivers and lack of a holistic approach to manage the disease. Poor patients will benefit if Deep Brain Stimulation is brought under the Chief Minister’s Comprehensive Health Insurance Scheme,” Dr. Shanthipriya Siva said.
V. Natarajan, retired professor of Neurology, said there was a misconception among people that Parkinson’s was a deadly disease but there was no need for fear.
Lakshmi Narasimhan, head of neurology, Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital, said the symptoms included tremors in hand or feet, slowness in walking, reduction in hand swing while walking, constipation and body stiffness. “It is a treatable disease but not curable. Patients should take medications and follow exercises to lead a normal life,” he added. R. Narayana Babu, director of medical education and Ratna Devi, founder of IAPG also participated.