Web Story – Community Based Rehabilitation
Strengthening the Community Based Rehabilitation programme in the district of Polonnaruwa
The persons with disabilities in Sri Lanka have faced countless challenges due to the system lacking resources, services, proper follow-up, and rehabilitation service provision facilities. As a result, they lead a poor quality of life within low socioeconomic statuses. Hence, there is a growing need to identify people with disabilities in the community, since there is stigma hindering their employment, income generation, and educational potential. Therefore, it is important for these individuals to be rehabilitated at their homes with the support of the community.
This project was initiated by FAIRMED to support persons with disabilities as the services were hardly available and known to these persons. The need to strengthen rehabilitative services was identified to support these patients in their own environment and the Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR) project was identified to complement the activities provided in the district.
This project was implemented in phases and phase I was supported by FAIRMED in 2018 and phases II and III, during the years 2019 and 2020 respectively were completed with the support from the World Health Organisation, Sri Lanka Office. Currently, the project is being continued in the MOH areas of Thamankaduwa, Hingurakgoda, and Lankapura.
With an overall aim of improving the quality of life of persons with disabilities in the project areas, the following activities were implemented during phase III of the project, with the additional funds received from the WHO Office in Sri Lanka,
- To conduct advocacy programmes for relevant stakeholders.
- To conduct training programmes for CBO members.
- To conduct training programmes for caregivers.
- To conduct awareness programmes for officers of the education department.
- To conduct awareness programmes on low-cost interventions.
Through this initiative, over 550 persons ranging from health staff to field officers at Divisional secretary offices, CBO members, and caregivers were made aware of topics and procedures related to disability and community-based rehabilitation. Types of disability, prevention of disability, and assistive devices that can be used were a few key areas covered during these programmes. Expanding the audience further, programmes conducted for officials from the Department of Education and the Department of Health covered topics such as; the importance of the integrated education system, psychological development of children, and statistics of persons with disabilities within the country.
The programme covered a crucial sector that has undergone great neglect within the country and especially in the district of Polonnaruwa for an extended period. Since the prevailing situation has contributed to the worsening of the circumstances, knowledge and awareness have become vital resources to the community of persons with disabilities.
Through this initiative, FAIRMED with the support of the WHO managed to build a firm foundation to what could eventually evolve into inclusivity and awareness-based system to make sure that the persons living with disabilities are able to have access to all their needs and facilities as required.