The first ever World Report on Disability a collaboration of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Bank is a fascinating read for those who are involved in that community cited as the “Global Populace of the Disabled”.
The Report is the first of its kind and is copyrighted as at 2011; it’s touted by its disseminators as the most recent and up to date compilation of: recommendations, statistics and research now in the wonderful world of existing documentation available, on the world’s status as it relates to the “more than one billion people” – as stated in that report, that now fall into the category of being disabled.
The Report is asking the Globe’s various governments, to give consideration to several recommendations. Naturally cutting to fit these strategies into each nation’s cultural, socio-economic, political and economic contexts.
The first recommendation is for the recognition that, “people with disabilities have ordinary needs – for health and well-being, for economic and social security, to learn and develop skills. These needs can and should be met through mainstream programmes and services.
“Mainstreaming is the process by which governments and other stakeholders address the barriers that exclude persons with disabilities from participating equally with others in any activity and service intended for the general public, such as education, health, employment and social service. To achieve it, changes to laws, policies, institutions, and environments may be indicated. Mainstreaming not only fulfils the human rights of persons with disabilities, it also can be more cost-effective.
“Mainstreaming requires a commitment at all levels – considered across all sectors and built into new and existing legislation, standards, policies, strategies and plans. Adopting universal design and implementing reasonable accommodations are two important approaches.
“Mainstreaming also requires effective planning, adequate human resources and sufficient financial investment – accompanied by specific measures such as targeted programmes and services to ensure that the diverse needs of people with disabilities are adequately met.”
The Report continues with the following recommendation, “invest in specific programmes and services for people with disabilities. In addition to Mainstream Services, some people with may require access to specific measures, such as rehabilitation, support services, or training. Rehabilitation – including assistive technologies such as wheelchairs or hearing aids –improves functioning and independence.
“A range of well-regulated assistance and support services in the community can meet needs for care, enable people to live independently and participate in the economic, social, and cultural lives of their communities. Vocational rehabilitation and training can open labour market opportunities.
“While there is need for more services, there is also a need for better, more accessible, flexible, integrated and well co-ordinated multi-disciplinary services, particularly at times of transition such as between child and adult services.
“Existing programmes and services need to be reviewed to assess their performance and make changes to improve their coverage, effectiveness and efficiency. The changes should be based on sound evidence, appropriate to the culture and other local contexts, and tested locally.
The other recommendation to be highlighted is, “adopt a national disability strategy and plan of action. A national disability strategy sets out a consolidated and comprehensive long term vision for improving the well being of persons with disabilities and should cover both mainstream policy and programme areas and specific services for persons with disabilities. The development, implementation, and monitoring of a national strategy should bring together the full range of sectors and stakeholders.
“The plan of action operationalizes the strategy in the short and the medium term by laying out concrete actions and timelines for implementation, defining targets, assigning responsible agencies, and planning and allocating needed resources. The strategy and action plan should be informed by situation analysis, taking into account factors such as the prevalence of disability, needs for services, social and economic status, effectiveness and gaps in current services, and environmental and social barriers.
In addition, “mechanisms are needed to make it clear where the responsibility lies for coordinating, decision-making, regular monitoring and reporting and control of resources.”
Maia Chung is a Member of the National Advisory Board for Persons with Disabilities in Jamaica, which advises the Prime Minister and Chairman of the Board Public Education Sub Committee and Founder and Managing Director of The Maia Chung Autism and Disabilities Foundation. The information for this piece was taken from the Summary of the World on Disability a collaboration of the World Health Organization and the World Bank.
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