ISLAMABAD: The International Day of Persons with Disabilities will be observed on Monday with an aim to create public awareness about the rights of those suffering from disabilities.
Moreover, the government will be urged to take steps and legislate to provide maximum facilities to such people.
The observance of the day was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in 1992. It aims to promote the rights and well-being of persons with disabilities in all spheres of society and development, and to increase awareness of the situation faced by people with disabilities.
International day is being observed today to create awareness about rights of special people
The theme for this year is “Empowering persons with disabilities and ensuring inclusiveness and equality". It focuses the special people for an inclusive, equitable and sustainable development envisaged in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The agenda pledges to “leave no one behind". Persons with disabilities, as both beneficiaries and agents of change, can fast track the process towards an inclusive and sustainable development and promote resilient society for all, including in the context of disaster risk reduction and humanitarian action, and urban development.
Governments, persons with disabilities and their representative organisations, academic institutions and the private sector need to work as a team to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The first UN flagship report on disability and development on the “Realisation of the Sustainable Development Goals” by, for and with persons with disabilities will also be launched on the day.
The 2030 agenda places importance on issues related to sustainable urbanisation, particularly in Goal 11: make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.
Director General Ministry of National Health Services (NHS) Dr Asad Hafeez told Dawn that though the ministry had started efforts to provide facilities to the special people, with the passage of time its scope had increased.
“Now the Ministry of Human Rights has also started efforts to provide relief to such persons through legislation. Efforts are also being made at the provincial level and the health ministry not only gives guidelines but also shares best practices with provinces.”
Dr Hafeez said the ministry was also coordinating with the international stakeholders and because of the efforts of Pakistan the World Health Assembly had already passed the global resolution on assistive technology.
“Moreover, the government has decided to provide medical and other facilities to disabled persons through an insurance coverage. We are also trying to play our role to ensure assistive devices for disabled persons at regional level,” he said.
During the current year, Pakistan organised the first regional meeting to develop a strategic action framework on improving access to assistive technology in the Eastern Mediterranean region. As many as 17 countries participated in it.
The Islamabad declaration on assistive technology was signed by the member states during the 65th regional committee meeting hosted by Pakistan.
Dr Maryam Mallick, the technical adviser on disabilities and rehabilitation at the WHO, said it was for the first time that the 2017-18 Pakistan demographic health survey had included a series of questions to identify disabilities.
“The questions address six core functional domains, namely seeing, hearing, communication, cognition, walking and self-care, and provide basic necessary information on disability comparable to that being collected worldwide.
Published in Dawn, December 3rd, 2018