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NGO partners with ICMR to foster sensitivity towards individuals with reduced mobility

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NewsDrum Desk
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New Delhi, Mar 31 (PTI) With an aim of training students, nurses, and medical practitioners in utilising assistive devices and fostering sensitivity towards individuals with reduced mobility, an NGO in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research has initiated a sensitization training workshops at medical colleges and hospitals here.

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So far workshops have been held at the Vardhman Mahavir Medical College (VMCC) of the Safdarjung Hospital, the Institute of Human Behaviour and Allied Sciences (IHBAS), and the Hindu Rao Hospital among others.

"Svayam aims to train over 600 students, nurses, and medical practitioners to sensitize them towards individuals with reduced mobility and how the quality of their life can enhanced with the help of assistive devices," Sminu Jindal, Founder-Chairperson of the NGO Svayam, said.

Svayam along with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) hosted a discussion 'Accessibility and Assistive Devices are crucial for Viksit Bharat' on March 27 in which over 70 professionals from institutions such as AIIMS, ICRC, ICMR, WHO, Ministry of Railways, among others participated.

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Partnering with the ICMR and a network of 20 NGOs, Svayam is spearheading a national campaign to highlight the critical need for inclusive environments and assistive technologies for a significant portion of the population.

This ground-breaking initiative seeks to declare March 27 as 'World Accessibility Day', highlighting the importance of accessibility and inclusion for all.

The event addressed the pressing need for accessibility in India. With an estimated 26.8 million people living with disabilities and 104 million aged 65 and above facing mobility constraints, the need for concerted efforts is evident.

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"Despite these challenges, India lacks a designated day dedicated to accessibility. Establishing such an occasion could catalyse unified action and focused initiatives to enhance accessibility nationwide," Jindal said.

Addressing the event, Rajesh Aggarwal, Secretary of the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DePwD) said, "The era demands accessibility for all, not as a luxury but as a fundamental requirement. Let us stand together, bridging gaps and empowering every individual towards a dignified life." Svayam, in collaboration with 20 NGOs spanning across 35 districts in 10 states, is advocating for the global recognition of 27th March as the World Accessibility Day.

During the discussion, Dr Ravinder Singh, senior scientist at ICMR, and emphasised the imperative of creating healthcare environments that are inherently accessible.

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"Accessibility is the cornerstone of Viksit Bharat. We are also dedicated to empowering future healthcare professionals with the values of universal accessibility," he said.

Jindal underlined that accessibility is not a privilege but a birthright for all. "Let the barriers crumble, and opportunities flourish equally for every individual. Together, with our dedicated partners, we stand united to forge a barrier-free future," she said.

Dr Swadeep Srivastava, founder, HEAL Foundation, said, "Celebrating World Accessibility Day is an important milestone to bring to focus the need for accessibility. Let us recognise that access to healthcare communication is not a privilege but a fundamental human right. With over a billion people living with disabilities, it's imperative that we ensure all digital health platforms are universally accessible". PTI PLB DV DV

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