Every year, the United Nations announced theme that marks the 3rd December as International Day of Persons with Disabilities. This year’s subject is: “Achieving 17 goals for the future that we want” and focuses attention to the 17 goals of sustainable development and how they can create a more inclusive and equitable world for persons with disabilities.
This year’s theme provides a framework to determine how people with disabilities are excluded from society by promoting the removal of all kinds of barriers, including those related to the physical environment, information and communication technology (ICT) or positions created by some barriers.
The day aims to promote better understanding of disability issues with a focus on the rights of persons with disabilities and gains to be derived from the integration of these persons in every aspect of political, social, economic and cultural life of their communities. This day is celebrated since 1992 when the General Assembly of the United Nations proclaimed December 3rd as the International Day of Persons with Disabilities and is celebrated worldwide.
It is thought that at least 10% of the world population or 650 million people live with disabilities. This number in underdeveloped and developing countries is considerably greater, unlike the developed and richer countries. About 20% of poor people in the world are disabled. In many countries with low and middle incomes, only 5-15% of people with disabilities who require assistive devices and technologies have access to them. Statistics say that the percentage of children with disabilities who do not attend school is extremely variable and is between 65-85% in some African countries.
However, every country is trying to help these people with special needs in order to facilitate their life. It is estimated that in Macedonia 10% or about 200,000 residents are people with disabilities. The state creates solutions for their easier inclusion in the social environment and to easily perform all activities. The areas are education, employment, housing, social protection of disabled people, but especially should emphasize on health care. Modern medical and other sciences can greatly help these people to develop their potential and outstanding abilities and to become active members of society.
In Macedonia, the type and level of physical or mental development is regulated by the Regulation on assessment of the specific needs of people with physical or mental disabilities, according to it, people are categorized with physical or mental disabilities. To provide conditions for their inclusion in society, the state provides special protection. The form of protection is defined by the Law on Social Protection, Health Care Law, Law on health evidence in Republic of Macedonia, and the adoption of the law on use of voice language and Law on disability organizations. In legal regulations of Macedonia also, there is the Labour Law and the Law on Employment of Disabled Persons.
Our country is constantly investing in specific programs for these people and promoting access to services. These policies and programs should ensure the active involvement of disabled people, to comprehend their real needs.
These programs and activities should be sustained, constantly working to improve health care when it comes to persons with disabilities. All citizens should help in the inclusion of people with disabilities in daily life, whether it is the highest level of health protection or assistance to a person with disabilities to cross the street, to board the bus ect. Only by joint efforts we will manage to make the country a better place for these people.