The United Nations International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) has been observed every December 3rd around the world since 1992. The theme for this year’s IDPD is “Empowering persons with disabilities and ensuring inclusiveness and equality.”
The Empowerment, Disability and Inclusive Development (EDID) program of the CBC Health Services on November 28, 2018 commemorated IDPD by organizing inclusive sports to promote talents and healthy lifestyle among persons with disabilities in Bafoussam, West Region of Cameroon.
A CBM 2013 study of the Economic Cost of exclusion and gains of inclusion of people with disabilities revealed that households of persons with disabilities in low and middle-income countries like Cameroon spend 36% more average monthly income on health care than households without disabilities.
The study also revealed that even when people with disabilities access care, they are less likely to receive routine checks on issues such as blood pressure, weight, and sugar level which can lead to serious health complications later in life in not controlled.
Mr. Andre Kamga, EDID Program Officer and a person living with disability said, “This event is to encourage healthy lifestyles among people with disabilities and to prove to the world that people with disabilities have talents worth supporting.”
Mr. Kamga observed that sports is a fundamental human right and that people with disabilities need to express this right by being given the opportunity to use their talents and even represent their communities.
“Reducing inequalities and barriers to inclusion through sporting activities may not only lead to health gains amongst people with disabilities, but also increase their social, cultural and economic participation in the communities,” added Mr. Kamga.
The inclusive sporting campaign that started in 2014, and sponsored by the Liliane Foundation through the EDID program of the CBC Health Services holds under the umbrella of the National Games event popularly known as DIXCIADES. The program features different sporting activities such as football, handball, volleyball, wheel race, sack race, among others.
Forty-two-year-old Cindy Micheline, a mother of 3 and winner of the wheel race in the women category said, “I’m so happy to win for my people in Bafoussam. Sport is very good and I need to keep myself fit. It may feel tiring in the beginning but one needs to persevere and be consistent because it will make one to feel stronger at the end.”
Nuja Jr., 23-year-old visually impaired person, won the 100 meters race and says he is motivated to be the best runner in Cameroon. “I’m so happy that I emerged the winner of the 100M meters race in the men’s category of DIXCIADES 2018,” said Junior after his fantastic performance.
“I’m training hard towards the national competition during which I plan to give my best to see that I go to the international level,” added the courageous Nuja Jr.
The sporting event involved persons with or without disabilities in order to instill the spirit of solidarity and inclusion.
The Regional Delegate of Social Affairs for the West Region, Mr. Fonsah Emanuel explained that the government of Cameroon is taking positive measures to ensure the inclusion of persons with disabilities. He announced that in 2010, the government passed a law on the protection of persons with disabilities, adding that the text of application has been made available to ensure their practical inclusion and protection.
He noted that pilot mainstream schools exist in Bafoussam to ensure inclusion of children with disabilities. He said that through the DIXCIADES event, the government is working to achieve the inclusion of persons with disabilities and ensure that their talents are promoted.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) reports that about 15% of the world’s population lives with a disability and it costs billions of dollars to carter for them. The greater cost is incurred when persons with disabilities are not included in development actions or given the chance to contribute to the gross national product of their countries.
Disability advocates say the biggest problem is when people still think of minor roles or disable roles to place people with disabilities in social or economic works. Everyone with the needed skills should be given the chance irrespective of their conditions.