PNG joins global effort on disability

National, Normal

The National – Wednesday, June 29, 2011

PAPUA New Guinea is working towards achieving one of the nine recommendations formulated at a world disability gathering in New York on June 9.
Papua New Guinea was represented at the United Nations World Disability Policy meeting by Assembly for Disabled Persons president Ipul Powaseu.
The nine recommendations were: 
* Accessibility to all mainstream systems and services, with stakeholders being encouraged to change laws and policies, institutions and environment;
* Investing in programmes and services for people with disabilities where specific measures such as rehabilitation, support services or vocational training to improve functions and disabilities to make them independent;
* Adopting a national disability strategy and plan of action;
* Involving people with disabilities to be at the planning level in formulating and implementing policies;
* Improving human resource capacity through effective education, training and recruitment; 
* Providing adequate funding;
* Increase public awareness and understanding about disability;
* Improve the availability and quality of data on disability; and
* Strengthen and support research on disability as it increases public understanding, which, if supported through adequate funding, will make others appreciate and overcome social barriers.
Powaseu said recent exercises held in Central, New Ireland, Morobe, Eastern Highlands and Madang were aimed at achieving one of these recommendations.
The recent exercise, completed last week, was funded by the Australian government aid programme through the Australian development research awards. It was coordinated by the Nossal Institute for Global Health (University of Melbourne) in partnership with Divine Word University, CBM Australia and Cardno.
The training and survey exercise was to collect data on the kind of road and pedestrian safety awareness in place such as the proximity of bus stops for disabled persons, their sidewalks, street lighting, pathways, potholes, crossings, signage and other safety issues addressing their needs.
Dr Carolyn Whitzman, an associate professor in urban planning from the University of Melbourne, was in the country to help the data collectors, who were people with disabilities.
Powaseu said common social problems contributed to disability such as violence against women and motor vehicle accidents, among others.