Round table on Community based services for children with disabilities
Dushanbe, December 15, 2011 – Over 50 representatives from the Commission on Child Rights, Ministries of Health, Education, Labour and Social Protection, Disabled Peoples Organisations, Association of Parents with children with disabilities, WHO and national and international NGOs participated at the round table on Community based services for children with disabilities which was held on Thursday, December 15, 2011 in Dushanbe.
The round table was a joint initiative of UNICEF and Government of Tajikistan to create a platform to strengthen the inter-agency cooperation and jointly identify steps required to improve services for children with disabilities in Tajikistan, using the community-based rehabilitation approach. “Children with disabilities are among the most stigmatized and excluded of all the world’s children.” – said Ms. Laylee Moshiri, UNICEF Representative in Tajikistan. “We welcome the developments taking place in Tajikistan in the recent years to promote inclusion of these children in family and community life as full members, and encourage Tajikistan to ratify the Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities in due course” she added.
About 21,000 children are receiving disability benefits in Tajikistan. About 3 per cent of the registered children live in institutions including specialised boarding schools, while much less are receiving community based services including day care. Taking global prevalence of disability among children to be about 3 per cent, Tajikistan might have at least 4 times more children with disabilities than those who receive any disability benefits.
Following the 2010 polio outbreak, UNICEF, together with its partners, launched a project on Community Based Rehabilitation for Children Affected by Polio and other Children with Physical Disabilities which was implemented under the leadership of Ministry of Health and with support from Operation Mercy and Handicap International. The results of a recent assessment done of this project indicate, community based rehabilitation as a feasible model for Tajikistan to ensure the rights of children with disabilities.
“Polio outbreak of 2010 in Tajikistan awakened us to address the issues of children with disabilities with a different approach, the community based rehabilitation,” stressed Mr. Sherali Rahmatulloev, Head of Mother and Child’s Health Services Department under the Ministry of Health. “We all realise the importance of inclusion of children with disabilities in their communities. However, now is the time to match our words with action and strengthen the coordination among all responsible agencies to take concrete steps to ensure these children get the best support possible”.
Despite the progress made, many people with disabilities are still facing barriers to equal opportunities and full participation in the life of the community, as well as to enjoyment of their social and economic rights.
“I don’t want my child only to exist. I want my child to grow up happy, surrounded with love of her brothers and sisters and warmth of her family, and go to school with other children” stressed Ms. Mamadiyarova, who attended the round table with her child. “Why should children be divided as healthy or unhealthy? They are all children who need to be provided with opportunities,” she continued.
The round table concluded with agreement to establish a permanent inter-sectoral working group on Children with disabilities, to develop a joint vision, to ensure provision of a continuum of services for children with disabilities and conduct regular monitoring at national and district levels.
More information about activities by UNICEF in Tajikistan for children with disabilities:
For additional information, please contact:
Parveena Muhammedkhajaeva (Ms)
UNICEF Tajikistan Communication Officer
Tel.: +992 (918) 310071