May 11, 2019

Children with IDD’s
Leave no one behind

By: Randa Osman
“Leave no one behind” was this year’s theme for World Down Syndrome Day, in addition to being the pledge made by the 2030 UN Agenda for Sustainable Development. Unprecedented changes in the health policy for children with special needs in Eritrea and the advent of extra activities in their classes show that the country is committed to “leaving no one behind” and “reach the furthest behind first” as requested by the UN Agenda for the year 2030.
The National Association for Intellectual and Developmental Disability of Eritrea (NAIDDE), together with the Ministry of Health and other stakeholders, is showing its zealous support toward putting marginalized people at the forefront of sustainable development, by creating opportunities of free health care services for individuals living with IDDs (Intellectual and Developmental Disability). This is of paramount importance for these individuals, as the disorder usually affects the trajectory of their physical, intellectual and/or emotional development negatively, making life-long medical assistance almost indispensable.

According to a report by the World Health Organization in 2011, households with a disabled member have higher rates of poverty than those without disabled members. Disability usually leads to poverty, through lost earnings, as a result of unemployment, underemployment or additional costs of living with a disability, such as extra medical, housing and transport costs (WHO, 2011). Thus, free medical aid for individuals with IDDs is the stepping-stone for the alleviation of economic hardships these families face. The chairperson of NAIDDE said in an interview that the prescriptive provision of accurate training as well as parental love and affection are for parents to spend about 40 hours in a week with their child with special needs. However, this leaves parents baffled between two equally important choices – allocating time for income generation versus for your child’s care. Hence, the provision of free health care is essential to relieve parents of the predicament to make a choice.

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