EUROPE/ITALY - 600 million of the world’s people suffer from some sort of disability: 80% live in developing countries. “Cuamm-Doctors with Africa” discuss the situation

Tuesday, 9 March 2004

Rome (Fides) - The World Health Organisation estimates that in the world about 600 million people (25% of the world’s population) suffer from one or another type of disability. Of these 80% live in developing countries where the chance of contacting a specialised structure which can provide assistance and help is minimum: poverty make access to treatment and rehabilitation almost impossible.
In Kenya there is one orthopaedic specialist for every 3 million people, in Ethiopia one for every 6 million; in Italia one for every 10.000 people. Disability of movement and other types is a catastrophic problem for people in developing countries which lack structures and qualified personnel.
What strategies must be adopted at international level to meet this challenge? Is there any sense in undertaking orthopaedic work in Africa? What pathologies are encountered and how do they differ from those in Europe and the larger West? What are the problems? These are some of the questions which participants at the Cuamm Meeting on 13 March will try to answer.
Cuamm runs many orthopaedic and rehabilitation programmes: at Wolisso and Makallè (Ethiopia), at Nyahururu (Kenya) and in the West Nile region (Uganda), interventions for disabled persons aim to promote respect for basic human rights for groups ever more vulnerable and deprived of health-services. These programmes are not only prevention and treatment but also activity to spread new ethic and social attitudes in the field of healthcare, in particular a Community Based Approach which involves the local community in initiatives to improve the life quality of persons with a disability. (AP) (9/3/2004 Agenzia Fides; Righe:28; Parole:354)