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EMU Faculty of Health Sciences Releases a Statement on 3 December International Day of Persons with Disabilities

EMU Faculty of Health Sciences Releases a Statement on 3 December International Day of Persons with Disabilities
Published Date: Friday, 4 December 2020

Eastern Mediterranean University (EMU) Faculty of Health Sciences Dean Prof. Dr. Mehtap Malkoç released a statement regarding the 3 December International Day of Persons with Disabilities. Prof. Dr. Malkoç's statement reads as follows:

“3 December, International Day of Persons with Disabilities is considered as an opportunity to integrate disabled people into society in our country as well as all over the world and to ensure their rights “fully and equally ". 3 December is an awareness day for important issues such as emphasizing protective approaches in order to prevent disability, providing opportunities to improve the physical, mental and psychological health of the disabled person, increasing their rights of getting education, having a job, social participation and, finally, improving their legal rights.

More than one billion people in the world live with a type of disability, and approximately 200 million of these people have significant difficulties in surviving. Disability will become an even greater concern in the coming years because its prevalence is increasing. The aging of populations and the higher risk of older people becoming disabled, as well as the global increase in chronic health problems such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, cancer and mental health disorders are the reasons for the increase in disability. With the aging of the world population and the increase in chronic diseases, the number of disabled people is also increasing. Data reveals that 15% of the world population has disability. The number of persons with disabilities, which constitute an important portion in disadvantaged groups, is increasing. According to the World Disability Report, approximately 15% of the world population consists of disabled individuals, among whom 110 million individuals are reported to have very serious disabilities and have significant difficulties in functioning. It is also emphasized that individuals with disabilities are faced with great difficulties in accessing services such as health, education, employment, transportation and informatics.

Disability is a part of being human. Nearly everyone will be temporarily or permanently weakened at some point in their lives, and people living for many years will face increasing difficulties in functioning. Disability is complex, and the interventions that overcome disability-related disadvantages are multiple and systemic. The importance given to disabled individuals and their families in a country and the condition that they can behave independently within the society is actually an important indicator of the development of the society. For this reason, issues such as developing state policies, increasing the measures taken, improving health services and giving importance to social education should be brought to the agenda. Making the necessary architectural arrangements to change the perspective of the society, to ensure the social participation of the disabled individual and to reduce the mobility and access problems will increase the productivity of individuals who are restricted. 

In our country, both governmental and non-governmental organizations have to share the responsibility in this regard. Eastern Mediterranean University Center for Healthy Living (EMU-SAYMER) has been in operation since March 2016 in order to improve the physical health of the disabled individuals and reintegrate them into the society. With health professionals specialised in their respective fields, the center provides support for the holistic treatment of disabled individuals through physiotherapy, dietetics and nursing services. Closely following the latest trends in the field, EMU SAYMER applies up-to-date treatment methods with the support of high-technology medical equipment. Among the center's aims are minimising the existing handicaps of the disabled, increasing their physical skills, providing psychosocial support and maximising their autonomy in daily activities. Within this framework, children with congenital or acquired functional disabilities, babies at high risk (premature or low birth weight babies) and children who have been diagnosed with cerebral palsy, muscular torticollis, spina bifida, brachial plexus injury, muscular disorders, autism, and down syndrome are evaluated from a physiotherapeutic perspective and treated by expert physiotherapists who possess in-depth experience in their fields. Having adopted a multidisciplinary approach in its practices, EMU SAYMER caters for an important need in our country.

On 3 December, International Day of Persons with Disabilities, besides emphasizing the importance of physiotherapy in the development of physical health, it is also necessary to stress that significant changes should be made especially in buildings in order for disabled individuals to continue their educational life and have professional gains. It should also be reminded that measures should be taken for environmental architectural regulations and that they should be developed in a way that allows safe and easy transportation and access of the disabled. "