KARACHI: Sindh Minister for Transport and Information, Syed Nasir Hussain Shah assured that people with disabilities would be facilitated in transport, education and health sectors.
Speaking at a seminar in connection with ‘International Day for Disabled Persons’, he said the government has decided to take strict action against Sindh Building Control Authority (SBCA) for not implementing his directions issued for effective access to the disabled persons.
Nasir Hussain said his party chairman Bilawal Bhutto has issued special directives for provision of jobs to special persons, not only in the government but also in private sector besides providing them all necessary facilities.
A think-tank, belonging to Neurology Awareness and Research Foundation (NARF), gathered at the seminar to present various demands for the disabled persons.
The panel at the seminar urged the governments, persons with disabilities and the concerned organizations, academic institutions and the private sector to work as a ‘team’ to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Professor Muhammad Wasay, President NARF, told the audience that the disability rate in rural areas was 65% while in urban areas of the country, 34% suffer from disabilities. The 58 percent men while 42 percent women suffer from some kind of disability. The victims in Punjab are 56% and in Sindh are 28%.
As per Dr. Wasay’s statistics, only 14% of the disabled persons are the part of workforce, where only 10% have access to rehabilitation and 17% have access to social and educational support. He mentioned the ratio for disabilities including physical disability (35%), multiple (8%), blind (8%), mentally challenged (7%), deaf (7%), psychiatric (6%) and others (30%).
The number of disabled persons in Pakistan is growing at an alarming rate of 2.65 percent annually as the estimated 5.30 million population of the country was suffering with disability, as mentioned by Dr. Wasay, children being the prime victims.
‘Provision of appropriate and effective access’
Where 43% of the national population of the total disabled comprise solely of children, as compared to 10% of global percentage (2.18 million); statistics tell that 1.4 million children are of school age but no access to education”, Professor Muhammad Wasay lamented.
Dr Madiha Latif, neuro-psychologist, Erum Zehra, occupational therapist, General Secretary NARF, Dr Abdul Malik and Syed Ibn-e-Hasan, senior vice president of NBP also spoke at the seminar.
The panel demanded a full concession in admission fee and relief up to 75% in tuition fee in government educational institutes must be ensured.
The panel stipulated demand for Special Computerized National Identity Card by NADRA, whereas 50% concession on total charges of tickets to the disabled persons in Airlines, Railway, public and private transport companies, endowment of free treatment in all federal, provincial, district, tehsil, social security hospitals, dispensaries, as well as 60% discount in private hospitals were also suggested.
They also demanded that necessary changes in the existing buildings for the effective access to the disabled persons in public offices housed in such public and private buildings must be made, including access of wheelchair in all available public transport which currently is zero.
The seminar demanded to ensure the implementation of special quota in Federal and Provincial Public Commission.
‘Global statistics tell 20% of the world’s poor are disabled’
Globally at least 10% of the world's population, or 650 million people, live with a disability. Twenty percent of the world’s poor are disabled. The percentage of children with disabilities not attending school is extremely variable and is between 65 - 85% in some African countries.
Mortality for children with disabilities may be as high as 80% in countries where under-five mortality as a whole has decreased to below 20%. In many low-income and middle -income countries, only 5-15% of disabled people who require assistive devices and technology have access to them, experts shared.