Dushanbe Forum Unites Against Disability Inequalities in Tajikistan

Assistive Technology, News, November 12 2019

The Dushanbe forum in Tajikistan has marked the adoption of a new and powerful declaration on disability issues and the first step to the follow-up of Tajikistan’s National Program on the Rehabilitation of Persons with Disabilities for 2017–2020. The Dushanbe Declaration on Disability Issues will also contribute to defining the priorities for Tajikistan’s disability sector until 2030.

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Tajikistan country health profile

Despite having country status as the fastest growing economy in Central Asia, the population of Tajikistan has been faced with serious health issues. Approximately 1.6 million people do not have access to universal health coverage. More than 148 000 people suffer from various forms and levels of disability, of which only a minority benefit from support services. Health care was declared free of charge for persons with disabilities in state facilities, but these are generally located in urban centers. The situation is especially challenging in rural areas where low-income families with persons with disabilities are particularly affected by the lack of access to universal health coverage.

The Dushanbe Declaration: commitment to improving the lives of disabled people

The forum, held on 18 October 2019, was convened to promote action, partnership and accountability in order to deliver lasting change for people with disabilities in Tajikistan. The new declaration reaffirms the government’s commitment to ensure: better rehabilitation, health care and education; social protection; economic empowerment; and better livelihoods for disadvantaged persons. In the words of the President, ¬in a statement to the Supreme Assembly of the Republic of Tajikistan: “We pay special attention to the process of rehabilitation of people with disabilities, the provision of social protection to vulnerable groups, including orphans and children from low-income families, and their access to essential services. We are taking timely measures in this direction.”

International collaboration

The forum was attended by the Deputy Prime Minister, the ministers of health and social protection, finance, education and labour, as well as dignitaries of other relevant ministries and committees in Tajikistan. Alongside representatives from Tajikistan were 20 countries, United Nations specialized agencies and several other international organizations. This also marked the beginning of a multinational endeavor towards the implementation and ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, signed by Tajikistan in 2018. Finally, the forum initiated the delivery of the Sustainable Development Goals for persons with disabilities in line with the 2030 National Development Strategy of Tajikistan.

The forum contributed to strengthening an inclusive policy environment and the realization of the rights of persons with disabilities in Tajikistan. It was hosted by the Ministry of Health and Social Protection of the Population of Tajikistan, with the support of WHO/Europe and other partners including: the United Nations and several of its entities; other international organizations; disabled peoples’ organizations; development partners; and international non-governmental organizations. The Dushanbe Declaration on Disability Issues will be presented by the Government of Tajikistan at various national and international events, and it will be the basis for defining the disability sector priorities of Tajikistan in line with the Sustainable Development Goals.

For more information, please contact Dr Satish Mishra, Technical Manager of the Disability and Rehabilitation Unit, WHO/Europe, at mishras@who.int.

Originally Published on WHO Europe portal

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