The initiative will help the partners in expanding rehabilitation availability and access, raising awareness of the need, and implementing inclusion policies to improve the lives of millions of people in targeted districts, with a focus on persons with disabilities.
To address the challenges of providing Rehabilitation and Assistive Technology (AT) services to its citizens, the government of Sindh and Learning Acting and Building for Rehabilitation in Health System (ReLAB-HS) Pakistan have collaborated to increase access to Rehabilitation and Assistive Technology Services.
A formal launching ceremony of ReLAB-HS initiative was organized in Karachi on Monday.
Speaking at the provincial launch of the ReLAB-HS Pakistan initiative in Sindh, Muhammad Khan Ranjha Secretary for Department of Empowering Persons with Disabilities, lauded donor’s efforts, saying that the Sindh government is taking steps to improve the status of rehabilitation and AT services for the population, and thus always welcomes collaboration for initiatives like ReLAB-HS.
“Rehabilitation has been an ignored area, and access to AT services has always been a great challenge for the marginalized and low-income population due to many reasons including financial barriers and a lack of awareness on rehabilitation and AT,” he said.
“We are committed and our government is taking initiatives through Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities. We need to create a more enabling environment for the enhancement of rehabilitation and AT services for people, and only in this way, the gap between demand-supply can be bridged.” The Secretary also pledged full support of his department to the initiatives like ReLAB in the province.
Abdul Bachani, Global Director of ReLAB-HS, also addressed the audience and discussed the initiative’s key activities and objectives. He explained that funded by United States Agency for International Development (USAID), ReLAB-HS is a five-year global activity that will support the strengthening of health systems that are responsive to the growing needs for rehabilitation within populations.
“Pakistan is one of four countries where ReLAB-HS will co-design and implement innovative, comprehensive, cost-effective interventions that strengthen health systems for the provision of rehabilitation and AT and will be focusing on integrating rehabilitation and AT services across all levels of care within health systems,” said Bachani.
Ghulam Nabi Nizamani, Director General of the Department of the Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPD) also addressed the participants. He stated that persons with disabilities are financially and socially excluded due to limited access to rehabilitation and AT services.
“To address this issue, the Sindh government has launched special initiatives through DEPD to improve the quality of life of PWDs by increasing access to rehabilitation and AT services at all levels of healthcare. The initiatives like ReLAB-HS will add value while being a true support to the government’s efforts to address rehabilitation and AT issues in the province,”
Nabeel Akram, Regional Director for ReLAB-HS, shared that ReLAB-HS will assist provincial governments in Pakistan in identifying the need for rehabilitation and access to assistive products through evidence-based research and recommendations.
He noted that it will help the partners in expanding rehabilitation availability and access, raising awareness of the need, and implementing inclusion policies to improve the lives of millions of people in targeted districts, with a focus on persons with disabilities.
Talib Lashari, SACM on Health Sindh said that we need to enhance cooperation between DEPD and Health Department and also among the other stakeholders who are working under ReLAB. He reiterated support of the health department in combating challenges of Rehabilitation and Assistive Technology needs in the province.
While the Member National Assembly, Ms. Kishwar Zehra mentioned that the Sindh Government has taken exemplary initiatives for rehabilitation and assistive technology. She mentioned that the Government of Sindh is going to inaugurate a park for PWDs, which is a right step towards inclusion of physically challenged people.
At this occasion, Kulsoom Chandio, the Member Provincial Assembly Sind also highlighted the efforts of the provincial government for rehabilitation and uplifting of the lives of Persons with Disabilities.
Caroline DUCONSEILLE, Humanity and Inclusion (HI) Pakistan Country Director, said that HI is proud to be a consortium partner in Pakistan. She stated that HI’s vision is to voice for inclusion and ReLAB-HS is doing the same job while improving the status of Rehabilitation and assistive technology services. She said that ReLAB-HS team in Pakistan is committed to meet the objectives and achieve the goal of the activity
Waqar Qureshi, the Country Coordinator for ReLAB-HS Pakistan stated that in support with the provincial and district authorities, the ReLAB team will develop a model of Rehabilitation and AT services, aiming to enhance the access and affordability of services for the targeted population in KP and Sindh provinces.
The ReLAB-HS launch was attended by a large number of people, including officials of the health departments, representatives of UN, WHO, INGOs, NGOs, media and Organizations of Persons with Disabilities.
ReLAB-HS is made up of six international partners with expertise in health systems, implementation science and delivery innovations. It is led by the Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, USA, and co-led by the Nossal Institute for Global Health, Australia. Other global partners include Humanity and Inclusion, MiracleFeet, Momentum Wheels for Humanity and Physiopedia. ReLAB-HS is made possible by the generous support of the American People through the United States Agency for International Development. (PR)