Joining hands for improving the well being of the disabled children in a resource poor setting: Experience from a pilot project in Bangladesh
Presentation at the American Public Health Association 131st Annual Meeting & Exposition, 16-19 November
Publication date: 2003
There are 62 million children in Bangladesh; of them ten percent are disabled. Though the constitution proclaimed right to social security for the disabled, but with a meager per capita total health expenditure of international dollar 47, it is still a far reach dream. Therefore, disabled people have to mainly depend on their families. Consequently, they are considered as burdens, viewed as curse and symbols of divine punishment. They are kept out of social activities and are often abused. No wonders that the social injustice takes toll mostly on the disabled-children who in turn are unable to develop in their full potential. Considering this, a community-based development organization launched a pilot project for improving the well being of the disabled children by joining hands with other local organizations having technical expertise as well as with volunteers and the community people. Within two years using less than 1% of total budget of the organization 46% of the disabled children having physical, intellectual, multiple and other disabilities in the area could be reached. This paper presents the types of activities conducted to improve the well being of the disabled children by participatory action of the community people, local organizations and other gatekeepers. The paper also highlights the barriers, lessons learned and policy implications for other local institutes who are yet to integrate the activities for the disabled people into their development initiatives - for facilitating the replication of this participatory model in order to cover the disabled children at large.