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‘Include disabled in AIDS outreach’

Marlon Madden

‘Include disabled in AIDS outreach’

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POLICYMAKERS are urged to provide more accessible information on HIV/AIDS to the disabled community and to include them in the planning and dissemination of sensitization campaigns.
This call came from Minister of Social Care, Constituency Empowerment and Community Development Steven Blackett during an HIV/AIDS And Disabilities Poster Launch at the Almond Bay Centre yesterday.
Before officially launching the posters for people with disabilities, Blackett said “the AIDS crisis” could not be addressed successfully unless those with disabilities were routinely made a part of the HIV/AIDS outreach efforts.
“Even literacy may not overcome all obstacles. HIV and AIDS messages by their very nature are often inaccessible to persons with disabilities. Radio campaigns miss those who cannot hear.
“Billboards may not reach those who cannot see, and complex messages do not reach those with intellectual impairments. And clinics and services are often inaccessible to those with mobility issues,” he said.
He said that from as far back as January 2008, his ministry started to put measures in place for HIV prevention activities for people with disabilities and he was therefore calling on others to do the same.
“These activities included focus group meetings for parents of children with disabilities and networking with the Barbados Council For The Disabled, the Barbados Association for Learning Disabilities and the Organization of Parents of Children with Disabilities. . . ,“said Blackett.
He said that as of December 4, 2010, the Ministry of Social Care had embarked on a programme to target all subgroups within the disabled community. (MM)