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Pledge to end disparity in healthcare for intellectual disabilities

ABU DHABI, The children and adults with Intellectual Disabilities (ID) from 20 developing countries, including Malaysia can now hope to receive better quality healthcare services in the next three to five years.

This is following the pledge of over 100 global health leaders at the Global Inclusive Health Forum here to ensure 10,000 community health workers, 500 in each country,are adequately trained with the knowledge, skills and attitudes required to treat the persons ID.

The forum, held in conjunction with 2019 Special Olympics World Games (SOWG) here beginning tomorrow till March 21, also addressed that ID is significantly more common in the low and middle income nations – 16.41 in every 1,000 individuals.

Special Olympics International Chairman, Dr Timothy Shriver said the commitments made at the Forum will make health disparities history and make inclusive health a reality for some 200 million individuals living with ID worldwide.

In this regard, the leaders, including representatives from Special Olympics, World Health Organisation (WHO), United Nations (UN), Golisano Foundation, International Federation of Red Crescent and Red Crescent Societies, and Lions Clubs International among others, have also discussed the strategies and good practices to be applied.

People with ID rightfully demanding quality healthcare in their communities and their countries, and the Global Inclusive Health Forum is elevating their voices to the people in positions of power, he said on Tuesday.

Besides Malaysia, other countries in the list are Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, Uganda, Bangladesh, India, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Vietnam, Jordan, Moldova, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Jamaica, Ecuador, Paraguay and Peru.

Meanwhile, Special Envoy to the UN Secretary General on Disability and Accessibility, Maria Soledad Cisternas Reyes welcomed the effort, as both the children and adolescence with disabilities, especially those with ID, often become the victims of abuse and human rights violation.

It is necessary to raise awareness to improve the situation of children and adolescence with ID. We believe that Special Olympics have a strong commitment to improve the situation of people with ID through the practice of the sports.

And now, the focus is also on the exercise of right health, she told Bernama after presenting 10 principles on the good treatment for the people with ID at the forum.

The forum also saw the Special Olympics and Golisano Foundation honoured seven healthcare organisations and professionals with the Golisano Global Health Leadership Awards for championing global health work.

The seven recipients are:

1. Lions Sight First Eye Hospital (Kenya)

2. Dr Ashok Dhoble, the Honorary Secretary General of Indian Dental Association (India)

3. Hua Dong Hospital (China)

4. Belgian Dentist Collaboration (Belgium)

5. Dr Derisel Ferreira, the Director of Third Health Region of the Ministry of Public Health and Social Welfare (Paraguay)

6. Professor Kamal Bani-Hani, President of Hashemite University (Jordan)

7. Dr Peter Seidenberg, family and sports medicine physician at the Penn State Sports Medicine College (United States)


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