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People with Disability in EMR and Access to The Information and Communication Technology (ICT). MT YASAMY, RA MNH & SA WHO/EMRO “ Sharing experience on best practices in ICT services for persons with disabilities” Cairo,13-15 Nov. 2007. Outline.

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People with Disability in EMR and Access to The Information and Communication Technology (ICT)

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People with disability in emr and access to the information and communication technology ict l.jpg

People with Disability in EMR and Access to The Information and Communication Technology (ICT)



“ Sharing experience on best practices in ICT services for persons with disabilities”

Cairo,13-15 Nov. 2007

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  • Brief overview of disability and rehabilitation situation in EMR

  • Overview of needs

  • Stories of success in developing countries

  • Suggested principles

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Results for 10 countries in selected MENA countries Source: Metts (2004).

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About 40 million people with disability in EMR

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  • In 1999, WHO collected information by means of a questionnaire sent to all member states of the WHO, and to around six hundred NGOs working on disability. This questionnaire, was developed at the request of the Special Rapporteur on Disability of the UN commission for Social Development.

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  • National programme on Rehabilitation available in 5/11of countries ;NGOs 4/8.

  • Percentage of persons with disabilities reported to be receiving rehabilitation range from less than 5% to 81-100%! in different countries; NGOs from less than 5% to 41-60%

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Support services

  • Assistive devices financed fullyby governments in 3/11, partiallyin 7/11; NGOs1/8 and 5/8 respectively

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  • In terms of medical care for persons with disabilities, there is a tendency for medical care system not to treat certain disability groups in some of the countries.

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Socio-Cultural issues

  • The social stigma associated with disability makes it common for families to “hide” family members with disabilities and restrict their access to education, rehabilitation services, and job opportunities.

  • Among persons with disabilities who face lesser degrees of social stigma, a major barrier for their integration in society comes from discrimination in the form of impediments to infrastructure accessibility to education and health services and work.

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Poverty and Disability

  • Poverty and disability are closely linked.

  • Poverty is not only a lack of income it is also a lack of access i.e. to health services, education services, work opportunities, social activities to name but a few examples.

  • Poverty at an individual level, which can derive from poverty at state level, can result in poor nutrition, poor hygiene, bad sanitation, and reduced access to basic health care. This in turn may lead to further disability.

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Regional meeting onImplementation of the United Nations Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with DisabilitiesCairo , 2-4 May 2006

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Representatives from:

Iran,Iraq,Jordan,Occupied Palestine Territory,Pakistan,Sudan

UN Special Rapporteur on Disability and other participants from Qatar

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Recommendations of the Meeting:

  • No discrimination

  • Rehabilitation Councils/authorities

  • Standardized training

  • Low cost, locally made assistive devices with acceptable quality

  • Integrating rehabilitation in PHC

  • Regional information system on disability

  • Support and strengthen CBR

  • Networking

  • Plan of action for UNSR

  • Partnership

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Intercountry meeting on developing a Regional Strategy for EMR on Community Based Rehabilitation(CBR)Bhurban,Pakistan,16-18 July 2007

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Un Convention on disability

  • Un Convention adopted on 13 December, 2006 and opened for signature on 30 March 2007.

  • As of today there are 118 signatories to the conventionThe Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its Optional Protocol were adopted on 13 December, 2006 and opened for signature on 30 March 2007.

  • Currently:102 signatories to the Convention

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“Promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights (civil, cultural, political, social and economic) and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities, and to promote respect for their inherent dignity.”

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  • All articles in the convention are related to WHO's work especially;

  • Article 6 - Women with disabilities

  • Article 7 - Children with disabilities

  • Article 9 - Accessibility

  • Article 10 - Right to life

  • Article 16 - Freedom from exploitation, violence and abuse

  • Article 20 - Personal mobility

  • Article 25 - Health

  • Article 26 - Habilitation and rehabilitation

  • Article 32 - International Cooperation

  • Article 33 - National implementation

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  • Article 32 requires pragmatic and action-oriented measures to be undertaken by States Parties to support inclusive development and also states that development programmes should be inclusive and accessible to persons with disabilities – this is paradigm shift within the development community, as it defines disability issues as a mainstreaming issue to be considered in ALL programming, rather that an stand-alone thematic issue. 

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WHO is currently implementing its Plan of Action 2006–2011 on disability and rehabilitation

  • community based rehabilitation

  • wheelchair manufacture in low resource settings

  • Medical rehabilitation guidelines

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Assistive technology

Reasons for using assistive technology

  • To be independent

  • To be active in daily life

  • To live safe and securely

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Information and Communication Technology (ICT)

  • Convergence of telecommunication, computing and broadcasting through the use of digital information.

  • It covers any products that will store, retrieve, manipulate, transmit and receive information electronically in a digital form.

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Medicine reminder service

Alarm centre

Carousel connected to care phone

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Positioning and communication

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Reduction of the gap of digital divide for PWDs

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Experience from developing countries in other Regions

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Alternatives for the visually impaired

Braille and/or talking books

The cost of this technology remains high

Availability of hardware and software is limited

Illiteracy:In developing countries, only about 5 per cent of the blind are able to take up or access primary education


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Experience of The New Delhi office of the National Association for the Blind (NAB)

  • The NAB Computer Training Technology Centre was the first of its kind in India.

  • Provided accessible and affordable ICT to blind users by establishing a computer training and technology centre.

  • INTEL provided economic stability to the programme and professional management systems

  • NAB was successful in lobbying a major multinational company to take on blind staff members

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Experience from Bangladesh

  • The government started encouraging the donor agencies, non-government organizations and other development partners of the country to help build the necessary capacity in this area.

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Bangladesh Protibandhi Kallyan Somity (BPKS) is an organization of and by disabled persons for all.

In July 2002 BPKS initiated an Accessible ICT Unit for providing Basic Training of ICT Applications and other office communication tools/materials for PWDs with accessible facilities and accommodation.

At present BPKS provides three month long ICT training for PWDs through this Unit. Twelve participants with different types of disabilities are accommodated in each batch. By these time three batches have successfully completed this training course.

The training is fully free of cost with free accommodation and meal.

Content of the training includes Introduction to Computers and other devices, Introduction to Operating Systems (OS), Micro soft Word, Micro soft Excel, Micro soft Access, Micro soft Power Point, Photo Editing, Adaptation and accessibility options for PWDs, E-mail and Internet etc.

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Regional Experience

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Workshop on ICT and persons with disabilities

Tunis, Tunisia

16 November 2005 9 a.m. to 1 a.m.

Organized on the occasion of the Second Phase of the World Summit

on the Information Society (WSIS)

Tunis, Tunisia, 16-18 November 2005

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Information & Communication Technologies for Development in the ARAB Region - ICTDARUNDP's Regional Program, was established in Cairo in October 2003

Syria :“Strategic ICT Programme for Social and Economic Development in Syria” project, carried out by UNDP Syria in cooperation with the Ministry of Communications and Technology and the Ministry for Social Affairs and Labor.

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Studies Centre for Handicap Research (SCHR) – Syria, Egypt

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ICTARB ActivitiesICT for the visually impaired

  • Ongoing “training the Trainers” programme to assure the quality of material provided

  • Converting the Arabic, English and French educational curriculum into Braille through the use of Braille printers

  • Supporting educational, vocational and cultural independence and providing a constant stream of scientific and cultural data for the blind through Internet

  • Organizing a regional conference to evaluate the social and economic impact of ICT on the blind people in the Arab region

  • Provision of technical equipment

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Suggested principles:

  • To reduce the digital divide for PWD

  • To address both technicalaccessibilityandeconomic affordability

  • Small pilot projects should lead to scaled up high coverage initiatives

  • Empowerment and not charity approach

  • Holistic and comprehensive approach ( case management)

  • Inclusion of the uneducated

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Thank you

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