Speakers urged the government to curb different barriers to ensure easy healthcare services for persons with disabilities in the country.
The recommendation came during a roundtable on ‘Disability-friendly national health care: Ensuring health rights for persons with disabilities’, organised by Prothom Alo on Thursday.
Inaugurating the roundtable, assistant director Anika Rahman Lipi of Centre for Disability in Development (CDD) presented a slide show, pointing out the present situation of people with disabilities in Bangladesh. She also shared her own experience.
She pointed out different facilities and therapeutic and rehabilitation centres for people with disabilities in Sirajganj general hospital and also in Manikganj general hospital.
Anika Rahman said a total of 2376 people have already received services from the two therapeutic and rehabilitation centres.
Among them, 1,026 patients received treatment in the Manikganj hospital and 1,350 patients at the Sirajganj hospital.
Manikganj civil surgeon Imran Ali defined disability and its classifications.
CDD director Nazmul Bari in his speech highlighted the organisation’s activities for people with disabilities.
“World Health Organisation’s statistics on better health for people with disabilities said a person with disability is three times more vulnerable to receiving minimum health care facilities than the general people,” said Nazmul Bari.
He also said it is four times more likely that the persons with disability get badly treated even if they get access to the health care facilities.
Nazmul Bari said half of the disabled persons are unable to bear the expenses of their treatment. They also have to bear additional expenses in some cases.
He urged the government to take necessary measures to employ the disabled people of the country as an effective workforce.
Disability rights specialist Lieke Scheewe of Light for the World from Netherlands shared her experience as person with disability.
Speaking as a chief guest, additional director general of Health Directorate, AHM Enayet Hossain, discussed the organisation’s present activities and future plans.
He said they tried to keep a reserved system for the people with disability.
“However, the system seemed insufficient and now we have changed it and now we are trying to follow the priority basis system for them in a number of hospitals,” said Enayet Hossain.
Speaking about future plans, Enayet Hossain said, “We are preparing a strategy and action plan for disabled people as we have a law now and for that we need a strict action plan.”
The health directorate ADG said he is ready to welcome any new idea from the participants of the roundtable as stakeholders of the health sector.
Gender and disability inclusion advisor of the non-government organisation Lights for the World, Murali Padmanabhan, and president of Pabna disability assisting team, Ibrahim Hossain, also spoke at the roundtable.