Rehab of Disabled Integral Part of Healthcare Services

Rehab of Disabled Integral Part of Healthcare ServicesRehab of Disabled Integral Part of Healthcare Services

Rehabilitation today goes beyond its traditional definition of specialized healthcare to improve, maintain or restore physical strength, cognition and mobility, said Health Minister Hassan Qazizadeh Hashmi on Saturday. 

“Rehabilitation entails a myriad of aspects including psychological, social, and vocational for people with disabilities,” he said in a message on the occasion of the UN International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD), the ministry’s news portal Webda reported. 

People with disabilities are among the most marginalized groups in the world. They have poorer health outcomes, lower education achievements, less economic participation and higher rates of poverty than people without disabilities.

The barriers can be overcome, if governments, nongovernmental organizations, professionals and people with disabilities and their families work together. Rehabilitation can help them maximize functioning and gain more independence.

The theme for this year’s International Day, observed globally on December 3 since 1992, is “Achieving 17 Goals for the Future We Want”.

‘The Future We Want’ document is the outcome of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on June 20–22, 2012 whereby member states renewed their commitment to sustainable development and to ensuring the promotion of an economically, socially and environmentally sustainable future for the present and future generations.

“With rates of disability increasing, rehabilitation has become an integral part of healthcare and medical services,” said Hashemi.

He cited the high number of traffic accidents, aging population and the increase in chronic health conditions, as well as the nation’s proneness to natural disasters as factors contributing to a growing demand for advanced rehabilitation services.

“On the directive of the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, several state bodies are cooperating to step up the quality of comprehensive healthcare services with a focus on government accountability,” the minister noted.

“The leader has also called for transparent information, efficiency and proficiency within the national healthcare network, support services for war veterans and the physically-challenged, to improve their wellbeing.”

The ministry’s agenda includes rehabilitation packages and services at various levels of health promotion, prevention, and sub-specialized treatment; devising a referral system for rehab services at different levels; and provision of insurance coverage for rehabilitation.

  Disability-Friendly Environment

In its efforts to engage the larger participation of people with disabilities, the government has increased the employment quota for the physically challenged in state jobs to 5% as of 2016 from the previous 3%. The bill for the 3% quota for the disabled was ratified in 2004; however, there was no recruitment between 2012 and 2015. The law was implemented this year in cooperation with the Management and Planning Organization.

The Technical and Vocational Training Organization is also cooperating in training the disabled who show high learning capabilities.

A big impediment to larger social participation of the disabled is lack of friendly urban or rural environments.

Last month, Tehran Municipality’s deputy for social and cultural affairs said provision of services to the physically challenged and making the capital city more disable-friendly is on its agenda.

Local committees to support the disabled have been set up in various municipal districts to step up amenities for the target group, said Mojtaba Abdollahi at the 22nd session of the TM’s Council for the Disabled on November 22.

So far, one disability-friendly park has been constructed in each of Tehran’s 22 municipal districts. The TM has plans to further improve urban public spaces by removing obstacles and improving street pavements and connectivity bridges, in order to facilitate easy movement for the physically challenged.

According to the State Welfare Organization, about 2% (1.5 million) of the Iranian population, including 400,000 in rural areas, are living with moderate to severe disabilities and are in need of rehabilitation services. Statistics show 8% of Iran’s population comprises seniors, and 40,000 disabled are added every year. 

A total of 1.3 million (36% women and 64% men) among them are registered at the SWO and include 10.5% with visual impairment, 40% with motor function disability, 26% with intellectual disability, 8% with severe psychological disorders, 14.5% with hearing impairment, and 1.5% with speech impediments.

Over a billion people around the world live with some form of disability. This corresponds to about 15% of the global population. The conditions affect hundreds of millions of families in developing countries.

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