Society, family system need to play due role to facilitate people needing rehabilitative care: Alvi

ISLAMABAD-President Dr Arif Alvi emphasized that society and the family system would have to play their due role to facilitate the lives of persons with disabilities as well as those needing rehabilitative care.
The president, addressing the concluding ceremony of a course held by the Global Rehabilitation Leadership Institute, said the community welfare had been the basis for all religions including Islam, Christianity and Judaism, citing the examples of holy prophets, Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H.) and his companions.
He said at a time when the world lacked morality and humanism in its affairs, it was the society that would have to play its part, particularly for the welfare of persons with disabilities and those who could benefit from rehabilitation.
Citing a research study, the president told the gathering that around 24 percent of Pakistan’s population suffered mental stress including 60-70 percent of the students.
He said the situation could not be addressed at a time when the country had just 600 psychiatrists and 1200 psychologists. In such a case, the family system could prove to be a good anchor to extend its support in the form of group therapy and stress sharing.
President Alvi said without depending on the state, the family system would have to come up to play its part as in Islamic societies where the communities always promulgated laws.
He stressed the need for the Pakistani society to show compassion towards the persons with disabilities as generally, their attitude towards them was not welcoming. He said all the deprived segments of society including women and 27 million out-of-school children required due attention for redressal of their woes.
He said the enrollment of 27 million out-of-school children could take decades if left up to the state while Pakistani society could address the issue far earlier by utilising the already available infrastructure of mosques.
The president said children with physical disabilities should be enrolled in regular schools as it would sensitise other children towards their challenges.
Besides, he said more than a state, the society would have to make efforts to ease the movement of visually impaired people.
The president thanked the World Health Organisation (WHO) for extending support to Pakistan to address the issues of disability and rehabilitation.
He urged the countrymen to respect their legacy of love towards humanity, the environment and nature to bring a change just by investing the intellect, not money.
Earlier, WHO Representative in Pakistan Palitha Mahipala spoke highly of the “incredible” leadership and role played by President Alvi towards the issues of disabilities and rehabilitation.
Similarly, he also lauded the contribution and efforts by First Lady Samina Alvi on the issues including her traveling and interactions with the people on multiple health-related issues.
The WHO representative called for the integration of the health system to include rehabilitation and assured the world health body’s cooperation in this regard.
He also appreciated Pakistan’s “tremendous” work in the primary healthcare sector.
Dr Goerge of Curatio Foundation of Georgia highlighted the journey of his country to integrate the health system by allocating more funds and carrying out capacity building.
Dr Alarcos Cieza from WHO Headquarters told the gathering that the countries’ approach towards rehabilitation was changing as 40 countries had sought their support.
Calling for strengthening leadership and governance, she said around six million people in Pakistan lived with disability and around 47 million could benefit from rehabilitation.
Dr Abdul Ghafoor Bachani of Johns Hopkin University said around 2.4 billion people across the world needed rehabilitation services and one in every five people of Pakistan need that support.
He advised against limiting the rehabilitation to just physiotherapy or disability rather every human in his life could need this service at any time in life.
However, he said so far less than 10 percent of the people could benefit from the rehabilitation which necessitated enhanced focus, funding and integration of the health system.
In his welcome address, Dr Abdul Ghaffar said the five-day course was being participated by experts and stakeholders from across Pakistan and Uganda.

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