BY MICHAEL KOMA
Disabled people can be found in every society across the globe.
Physical disabilities can be defined as congenital (born with physical deformities) or acquired through accidents, substance abuse and self-inflicted.
People living with physical disabilities need care and attention as they cannot enjoy life to the fullest.
Eastern Highlands Unggai-Bena is probably the only district in the country to create a separate organisation to serve persons with disabilities (PWDs).
The Unggai-Bena disabled persons organisation’s (UBDPO) strives to serve the needs of PWDs in the district.
Data collection on individual disable persons was accomplished in late 2017.
The extraordinary exercise covered 95 per cent of the district in April and May that year by 39 interviewers.
The interviewers collated data on 1808 disabled persons which was processed by the Unggai-Bena district disability desk, the administrative arm to the UBDPO.
It was discovered that 37 per cent of the 1808 interviewed were women and girls.
Those involved in the data collection were trained by the Catholic-run Mt Sion Centre for the Blind outside Goroka.
UBDPO’s program manager Willie Kelly said in order to effectively serve the PWDs needs, his office needs data and information on individual PWDs in Unggai-Bena.
Mr Kelly said his office is in dire need of assistance including devices and equipment like crutches, wheelchairs, white cane, hearing aid and spectacles.
The office also needs appropriate medical equipment like auto scope and trail lens to check on help those encountering ear and eye problems.
UBDPO is in the process of requesting the Eastern Highlands provincial health authority to assign a physiotherapist and health workers to assist them in its endeavours to serve people with disabilities in the district.
Local MP Benny Allan and thedistrict development authority has committed K500,000 for the UBDPO in which K100,000 was released last year. Mr Allan said the balance would be released (K100,00 a year) to the organisation between this year and 2022.
He said the disable population in his electorate deserves equal service like the rest of the population.