PWDs demand separate unit at hospitals
People with disabilities (PWDs) yesterday demanded a separate unit and an interpreter at every hospital of the country to get special medical care.
Speaking at a national consultation, they also sought jobs based on their merits in both government and private sectors.
“My mother has forgotten how to laugh, being busy taking care of me. I want to give it back to her by getting a job,” said Farhad Reza, suffering from cerebral palsy (CP), a movement disorder.
CP is caused by a brain injury or malformation that occurs while the child's brain is under development, and affects body movement and muscle coordination.
A 12th grader at Kaliganj Degree College in Satkhira now, Farhad went into convulsions soon after his birth but his family could not provide him advanced treatment due to poverty.
“If I had got advanced treatment, I wouldn't have to spend 21 years stuck in a wheelchair or forced to use crutches,” he said.
The national consultation on "Access to Mainstream Health Services for the People with Disability in Bangladesh" was organised by Disabled Rehabilitation and Research Association (DRRA) at The Daily Star Centre in the capital.
Syed Shahidul Islam, associate professor of the National Institute of Traumatology and Orthopaedic Rehabilitation (Nitor), said CP could be averted if proper treatment was given during prenatal and neonatal periods.
Saima Wazed Hossain, chairperson of the National Advisory Committee on Autism in Bangladesh, said disability was not a separate issue; anyone could be disabled anytime.
Referring to different organisations emphasising different aspects of disability, she said disability was a broad social problem, which could be solved if these organisations shared their studies and cooperated with each other.
She suggested that stakeholders should work inclusively for the economic development of the country.
The daughter of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina also called upon the ministries concerned to increase cooperation to address the problems of PWDs.
Executive Director of DRRA Farida Yesmin presented a keynote paper on "Access to Mainstream Health Services for the People with Disabilities".
She recommended adopting a national strategy for the disabled people that includes prevention, early screening, health promotion and rehabilitation, establishing adequate number of health and rehabilitation service centres at district level.
Farida also suggested inclusion of mental health services for PWDs in the mainstream healthcare system.
Among others, Social Welfare Secretary Tariq-ul-Islam, Women and Children Affairs Secretary Nasima Begum, Health Secretary Syed Monjurul Islam, and lawmakers Naimur Rahman Durjoy and Kazi Rozi also spoke at the programme.