Minister of health and family, Kuzholuzo (Azo) Nienu Monday assured support and cooperation of the state government and the social welfare department in providing help to the differently-abled persons.
Azo was speaking as the chief guest at the Badhe Kadam – IV and World Disabilities Day (WDD) at Children’s Park Naga Heritage, Kisama. He lamented that persons with disabilities did not have equal access education, employment, health care, transportation etc.
“People are often unaware of the great number of persons living with disabilities around the world and the challenges they face” Azo said.
Speaking as the guest of honour, parliamentary secretary for social welfare and women development, Chotisüh Sazo pointed out that the state government has declared Niremai Health Insurance Scheme has been launched by National Trust and CM corpus fund for 2200 disabled persons for five years in Nagaland covering 200 disabled persons from each district.
Diethonuo Nakhro, editor, Eastern Mirror who also spoke at the function said people living with disabilities were limited not so much by their disabilities but more by the way the society viewed and treated them. T. Kiheto Sema, secretary, department of social welfare, Talimeren Jamir, SSA, and Khevito T. Shohe, director social welfare and Dr. R. Zinyu, IRCSN also spoke on various schemes for the disabled.
Cultural and social integration speech was delivered by Purnima Kayani, NAPAD coordinator, Fancy dress presented by “special children”, dance by Cherry Blossoms School, Kohima while vote of thanks was delivered by W. Honje Konyak, DC Kohima and chairman local level committee, national trust.
Issues related to disabilities yet to be properly addressed
Despite efforts put on by concerned individuals and organizations, Nagaland is still dogged by issues related to the differently-abled. Numerous key issues were yet to be properly addressed in the state as many still continue to feel that disability is “non treatable and a taboo or a curse from God” despite the advancement of medical sciences.
Talking to Nagaland Post, Dr. Imlitemsü Ozükum, the lone doctor in the state who has studied Doctor of Medicine (MD) in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PMR) and a senior specialist in the health and family welfare department lamented the fact that Nagaland was yet to establish a rehabilitation centre for the disabled persons while almost all the states in the country has at least one rehabilitation centre with adequate manpower.
Ozükum informed that on May last, a PMR department was “unofficially” set up at district hospital Dimapur manned by him along with a physiotherapist and four “limb fitting technicians”.
We are working together with District Disability Rehabilitation Centre (DDRC) under Indian Red Cross Society (ICRS) added Ozükum.
He further disclosed that the lone DDRC in the state was setup by National Institute for the Orthopedically Handicapped, Kolkata under the ministry of social justice and empowerment, government of India and later handed over to ICRS. Emphasizing on the importance of having a proper rehabilitation centre, Ozükum said that if disabled persons were to be looked after properly then it was imperative to have at least a centre in the state.
Earlier, addressing a gathering on ‘World Disability Day’ organized by Prodigals’ Home, People in Need Foundation and Development Association of Nagaland in association with SSA-IED, International Committee of Red Cross and Diampur District Disabled Persons Parents’ Association, at IMC, Ozükum pointed out that with early intervention and through expert treatment, disabled people could lead an independent life.
While presenting a short report on Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR) activities, director of Prodigals’ Home, Dimapur, K. Ela pointed out that state present infrastructure was not setup keeping in mind the disabled person.
Citing examples of various government offices, banks, institutes, hotels, public places and the churches, Ela said that state should be inclusive of all the people and urged the gathering to practically make it accessible for all.
Commissioner & secretary tourism, art & culture, Himato Zhimomi while highlighting the state’s preparations for this year’s Hornbill festival had announced that one wheel chair each would be provided to five selected hotels for the disabled tourists for their “comfortable” stay during festival.
However, what remains to be seen is what measures the government will adopt to address issues related to the state’s differently-abled persons.