World should stand by people of determination - GulfToday

World should stand by people of determination

World should stand by people of determination

The UAE has successfully demonstrated how people of determination could be fully Integrated into the society. WAM

It is unfortunate many may not even have noticed that the world was marking the International Day of Persons with Disabilities on December 3.

One billion people around the world – one in seven of the total population – have some form of disability. More than 80 per cent of them live in developing countries, and around half cannot afford health care, according to United Nations officials.

What is more distressing is that people living with disabilities face stigma, discrimination, and ignorance, as well as a lack of social support for those who care for them.

These factors put them at a higher risk of violence, and children with disabilities face a greater than four-fold risk of experiencing violence than children without.

Disability is recognised as an issue that cuts across several parts of the UN 2030 Agenda. Disability inclusion is not only a fundamental human right, but it is also “central to the promise” of the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development.

As UN Secretary-General António Guterres points out, when we secure the rights of people with disabilities, we move closer to achieving the central promise of the 2030 Agenda: to leave no one behind.

The UAE deserves a salute for consistently remaining in the forefront when it comes to the welfare and empowerment of the people of determination.

Under the National Policy for Empowering People with Special Needs, people with special needs or disabilities are referred to as ‘people of determination’ to recognise their achievements in different fields.

It may be recalled that a People of Determination Retreat was held in March 2019, as part of the nationwide efforts to mobilise resources in support of the people of determination.

Several Sheikhs, ministers, national figures, people of determination and social specialists participated in the retreat sessions where 31 initiatives and programmes were approved to support the future of this segment of society and ensure their integration across various sectors.

In 2018, the UAE launched the first ‘Emirati sign language dictionary’, which seeks to develop and standardise the signs used by people of determination with hearing impairments across the UAE.

The dictionary is available online, and includes 5,000 words for teaching people with hearing difficulties and training sign language translators.

On the occasion of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, the Zayed Higher Organisation for People of Determination, ZHO, announced the outcomes of the implementation of the “3/12 Programme”, a service for early detection of newborns with disabilities in Abu Dhabi.

As per Sedra Al Mansouri, Acting Director of People of Determination Services at the ZHO, the number of children screened by the programme since its inception amounts to 7,595, including 4,884 UAE citizens and 2,711 residents.

The ZHO has launched a joint electronic programme with the Department of Health - Abu Dhabi and the Abu Dhabi Health Services Company, SEHA, which will monitor disabilities in all age groups for future study, especially during the stage when the children are vaccinated, to control or eliminate many infectious diseases from birth to six years of age.

Through this important step, the ZHO aims to detect any signs of childhood autism spectrum disorder, communication disorders and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

The UAE has thus successfully shown the rest of the world through its various efforts how people of determination could be encouraged to fully participate in society. Other countries can take a cue from this.