Persons with disabilities regularly face challenges to access healthcare infrastructure and information. Therefore, there must be comprehensive training for healthcare providers on how to provide disabled-friendly health services, said speakers at a dialogue yesterday.
Titled "Policy Dialogue on Inclusive Health Services for Persons with Disabilities in Bangladesh: Challenges and Prospects", the dialogue was virtually organised by James P Grant School of Public Health, Brac University.
Dr Adrita Kaiser, assistant coordinator of the school, shared the findings of her research titled "Current Situation of Inclusive Health Services in Bangladesh: Findings from a Nationwide Study". According to the research, in which 5,000 persons with disability participated, an estimated 11.4 million persons have some form of disability in Bangladesh.
Dr Shafiqul Islam, executive director of Centre for the Rehabilitation of the Paralysed (CRP), said along with health services, inclusiveness is also important for other facilities like rehabilitation, health professional services, and assistant devices for mobility.
Van Paula Schindeler -- deputy head of mission, the Netherlands embassy in Bangladesh -- in her speech as special guest said Bangladesh is doing quite well in terms of addressing disability-specific barriers.
She, however, stated three major points for the government to address. Firstly, establishing Disability Development Corporation in all upazilas to provide free treatment and assistive devices.
Secondly, even though the Ministry of Social Welfare is the focal authority for disability issues in Bangladesh, research and policy dialogues also demonstrate that Department of Health and Family Welfare needs to play an active role to mainstream the disability policy, and therefore coordination among these institutions is required.Thirdly, substantial budgetary allocation for the healthcare sector is required, particularly for people with disabilities.
Dr Nurun Nahar Begum, deputy director and programme manager of Clinical Contraception Services Delivery Program, Directorate General of Family Planning; Prof Mohammad Golam Rabbani, chairperson of Neuro-Development Disability Protection trustee board, Ministry of Social Welfare; and Dr Mushtaque Raza Chowdhury, trustee at Brac University and founding dean of James P Grant School, among others, spoke at the dialogue.