A recent study in Bangladesh reveals that cerebral palsy, a neurological disorder, was the highest forms of disability with 30.01 per cent followed by hearing and speech impairment at 23.76 per cent and intellectual disability at 21.73 per cent.
Of about Tk 11,146 crore budget allocated to the Health Ministry this fiscal, the allocation for medical rehabilitation for the people who are physically and mentally challenged is zero, the study said.
The study also identifies major causes of disabilities and put prolonged labour pain at 30.7 per cent, accident or injury at 16.03 per cent followed by age 13.86%, trauma during birth 12.24%, malnutrition 11.41% and birth defects 10.06%. Good health care can increase by 24 per cent enrolment of children with disability.
The study was revealed at a seminar on Inclusive Health and Rehabilitation of People with Disabilities, organized by Disabled Rehabilitation and Research Association (DRRA) on Sunday at the Daily Star conference hall in city.
The key challenges are absence of human resource for rehabilitation and weak coordination among service providers. Absence of data and health protocols are also part of the major challenges, the study said.
Politicians, academics, medical practitioners, bureaucrats, and people living with disability made a call for improved access and comprehensive mainstream health service for the disabled.
The lessons learned, achievements and future plan of the project, 'Promoting Inclusive Heath and Rehabilitation Services for People with Disabilities in Bangladesh', implemented by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, DRRA, and CBM were shared in the seminar.
Saima Wazed Hossain, the chief guest, chairperson of the National Advisory Committee on Autism and Neuro-Developmental Disability, said that the media should focus more on what the people with disabilities had to say.
"Society should be sensitive about disability as anybody can be victim of it. So manpower recruitment and training are more important to meet the challenge," said Saima Wazed.
A college student of Satkhira with cerebral palsy told the audience about his sufferings and how it could have been avoided with better health treatment.
The mother of a young girl suffering autism shared her ordeal and appealed for specialised facilities for the disabled at upazila level.
The joint secretary of the Health Ministry, Mohammad Helaluddin narrated the pains his 18-year-old autistic daughter was suffering. He said, "There are a lot of things we need to do to address such disabilities."
Nasima Begum, Secretary of Ministry of Women and Children's Affairs (MoWCA) said her Ministry will work jointly with MoHFW to address disabilities during child birth through services given from the community clinics.
Before leaving the podium, Saima Wazed said, "I urge you not to broadcast just half a minute of this programme on TV channels. And instead of focusing on me, you should focus on what these people have said."
Participants demanded more budget allocation and formal coordination among service providers for the treatment and care of people who are physically and mentally challenged.