PESHAWAR: A “centre of excellence” for those who have visual, auditory, other physical and mental disabilities is on the cards, said Dr Meher Taj Roghani, special adviser to the chief minister on social welfare. She said this at Peshawar Press Club on Wednesday.
The adviser said it is difficult for people who are differently abled to visit various facilities to seek treatment. Therefore, the social welfare department has initiated a scheme where screening will take place under one roof. The centre will also educate children while health and screening facilities will be for patients of all age groups.
Roghani said work for the establishment of the centre has already begun. A four-kanal plot has been taken for the purpose. She added the department will run 39 institutions in the centre, and impart education to 3,700 special children.
She said the welfare department is planning to set up a brail printing press, procure books and other equipment. “The provincial government has issued Rs10 million for high-tech specialised laptops.” The department will ensure a 2% quota for jobs for people who are differently abled in the government and give students scholarships for higher education. The department will ensure the new buildings are custom built for ease of access.
The adviser said data on the state of children who are differently abled is not available. Therefore, the social welfare department will soon compile a report on three districts – Peshawar, Mardan and Abbottabad. Data will be collected and analysed so solutions to problems can be sought.
“Zamung Kor, a new scheme for state children will be launched in Charsadda where 200 flats will be handed over to the department. Around 1,000 children will be admitted for educational and vocational training,” Roghani told reporters.
Rehabilitation for drug addicts
Roghani also commented on the government’s role in dealing with people using drugs.
She said she was displeased with the negligence of other departments, including health and anti-narcotics, and said they were not taking responsibility for rehabilitating drug addicts. She said the social welfare department should not be solely responsible, but there should be a collective effort.
According to Roghani, 11% of population was using illegal drugs, making it challenging for the department to handle the load all by itself. She said there were 10 beds at each of the four teaching hospitals in the city to treat people with drug addictions. However, about 200 drug addicts were rehabilitated in collaboration with Dost Welfare Foundation in the last six months.
The adviser mentioned the department was running five shelter homes. To better help and facilitate the women living in the shelters, the department has planned to form reconciliation committees and resolve minor family disputes so shelters are only used by victims suffering from severe domestic abuse.
Also, a database system for victims of gender-based violence has also been initiated.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 30th, 2015.