‘Rehab on Wheels’ by APD and ABB in India to Reach Out to Over 3000 Disabled People in the Next One Year

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Bangalore: Rehab on Wheels (RoW), a doorstep rehabilitation support service that provides accessible and affordable care through its mobile unit, has completed a remarkable 2084 services serving 710 patients since it first began in November 2022.

A joint initiative by The Association of People with Disability (APD) and ABB in India, the service is a first-of-its-kind rehabilitation project for people with disabilities. It aims to reach 3000 disabled people in the next year. Provided free of cost, RoW’s services include physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, counselling, aids and appliance measurement, fitment and user training, social security, referral to livelihood opportunities, schooling, and medical/surgical interventions by a team of experts.

The project, codified and replicated in multiple locations where there is a need for rehabilitation, has been funded by ABB in India, as part of it corporate social responsibility (CSR). In the last three months, the RoW has catered to several regions in Bengaluru Urban and Bengaluru Rural areas.

Some unique features of the mobile unit include a Sensory Integration and Early Intervention room (for visual and auditory facilitation), a hydraulic lift facility at the rear end of the bus (for easy access for wheelchair users) and a fully functioning electrotherapy unit division that serves as a pain management centre.

Babu (45), a stroke survivor and an artist by profession, accesses the mobile rehab service at Nams Snehasadan, a charitable community service centre in MS Palya, Bengaluru. “I am now able to initiate my painting strokes gradually as the strength in my hands is improving. As I now have rehabilitation at my doorstep, I don’t worry about going anywhere to avail this service,” says Babu.

Speaking on the initiative, G.N.V Subba Rao, the Global Head of Operation Centers, shared, “APD and ABB in India, through several iterations, jointly came up with the concept of ‘Rehab on Wheels’ to make affordable rehabilitation centres accessible to those desperately in need. We have already started and hope to reach over 3000 people in the next year. The various services provided through the doorstep mobile unit make the RoW programme suitable for a wide range of disabilities and patient groups, and we are happy these services are given free of charge to the needy,” he added.

Talking about the initiative, Dr. NS Senthil Kumar (Ph.D. Rehab), CEO, The Association of People with Disability (APD) shared, “The idea of Rehab on Wheels (RoW) emerged during the pandemic, when the PwDs and elderly were severely affected due to mobility issues. At the time, commuting and cost made rehabilitation inaccessible and unaffordable. The project, therefore, aims to strengthen the support system for PwDs by building an inclusive and sustainable ecosystem for their growth and development. This is done through capacity-building training, sensitising the government frontline workers and other stakeholders like parents and caregivers, and making the common people more aware of the cause. We are grateful to ABB in India for this project and for actively participating from the ideation to the execution process.”

ABB in India has been in partnership with APD for several years, and supports three projects to enable the education and treatment of children and adults with disabilities. This includes the Shradanjali Integrated School, the Early Intervention and Rehabilitation Programme for children with disability, and the Rehab on Wheels.