5m people living with disabilities in Pakistan

KARACHI: An estimated 5 million people are suffering from physical, neurological, and mental disabilities in Pakistan and 43 percent of them are children.

These statistics were shared by President, Pakistan Society of Neurology, Prof Dr Wasay Shakir while addressing a press conference at Karachi Press Club, here Thursday. President Pakistan Society of Neuro-Rehabilitation Prof Nabeela Soomro and Dr Abdul Malik were also present.

Prof Wasay said Pakistan has one of the largest disabled populations in the world with an alarmingly large number of about two million physically or mentally handicapped children, who are 43 percent of the total disabled population of the country. Unfortunately, there is acute shortage of qualified physicians and rehabilitation centres in the country, he added.

He said as many as 1.4 million children with physical or mental disabilities are of school-going age in Pakistan but unfortunately, they have no access to education or rehabilitation despite the fact that Pakistan’s legislature has passed a law for right to free and compulsory education for each and every child in the country.

He said a large number of people in Pakistani is becoming disabled due to neurological, mental and physical disorders as well as due to accidents, incidents of terrorism and other reasons while the number of children among the permanently disabled persons is also on the rise as compared to rest of the world.

Prof Wasay regretted that the centres for rehabilitation of disabled persons including children are almost non-existent in Pakistan. He said due to this a large number of people with disabilities has become a burden on their families and society.

Prof Nabeela Soomro said infections during pregnancy, strokes, road injuries and trauma injuries are major causes behind the physical and mental disabilities.

She said in this gruesome scenario, Pakistan Society of Neuro-Rehabilitation is holding a two-day Neuro-rehabilitation Conference at Dow University of Health Sciences (DUHS) on January 09-10, 2016 where experts in neurological disorders and neuro-rehabilitation will discuss the important aspects of rehabilitation of disabled persons and highlight the need for having rehabilitation centres in the country. The conference will inaugurate by Sindh Health Minister Jam Mehtab Hussain Dahar.

She said experts associated with various health facilities and institutions would be participating in the two-day conference and deliberate upon the importance of neuro-rehabilitation in treatment of neurological disorders, management of patients and lowering the burden of disabled persons in Pakistan.

Dr Abdul Malik said conference on neuro-rehabilitation would be another step towards raising awareness on this important aspect of health in Pakistan and added that besides scientific sessions for doctors and physicians, the conference would also comprise of hands-on training workshops on the rehabilitation of patients with disabilities due to neurological disorders.

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