Extended Services for Disabled

Extended Services for DisabledExtended Services for Disabled

A newly-devised protocol to expand services for the disabled is awaiting parliamentary approval and will help address a large part of their problems, said Minister of Cooperatives, Labor and Social Welfare Ali Rabie.

The protocol envisages 20 executive centers instead of the sole State Welfare Organization (SWO) to deal with problems related to the physically challenged, who number 1.1 million in the country, including 300,000 with severe disabilities.

Pointing to insurance for the disabled, he said the most important part of the protocol is the provision of financial grants to families that take care of the disabled at home. “This will come into effect very soon,” he said, reports IRNA.

The protocol was devised based on a government strategy to empower the disabled with close cooperation of the SWO and the Ministry of Cooperatives.

The minister called for contribution from philanthropists and said the SWO needs “public cooperation more than ever.” All social entities should be integrated to improve the functioning of the SWO.

Referring to the substantial progress made by the housing sector for the disabled owing to the “active cooperation” of the Ministry of Roads and Urban development, he said, “So far 31,000 physically challenged have been provided housing.”

A memorandum of understanding signed by the SWO and the Mostazafan Foundation (for the oppressed and disabled) in July, provides free disabled-friendly houses to families more than two physically challenged members, supported by the SWO. In the first three months of this year (started March 21), 1,800 families were housed and the rest will be covered next year.

Children between 2-5 years of age with Autism Syndrome disorder are targeted for special screening tests. Moreover, education for the physically challenged is now based on Ergonomics; the inter-disciplinary science that explores human capabilities and limitations and uses this knowledge to improve the design of things that people use and the ways in which they work. Contributing disciplines include psychology, industrial engineering, computer science, biomechanics, safety engineering and a host of others.

Rabie also pointed to the prevention of disability through pre-natal genetic testing and nutritional intervention. High malnutrition rate is often reported in children with disability, resulting in stunted development. He said a rich diet starting from kindergarten especially in border provinces was necessary. Free distribution of milk among school children is a measure that has long been implemented.

The Entrepreneurship Development Fund provides facilities for the disabled. So far it has created 7,000 jobs. In two years time, all children under SWO care will have employment, he added.ص