Minister of Social Solidarity Nivine El-Qabbaj in a meeting with leading associations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) on Thursday. (photo courtesy of Egyptian Cabinet)
In a meeting with leading associations and non-governmental organisations (NGOs), El-Qabbaj discussed the challenges faced by people with severe disabilities registering with the integrated services system to gain access to much-needed support.
El-Qabbaj stressed that in keeping with the spirit of Law 10/2018 – the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Law – the government wishes to work alongside civil society entities in order to provide integrated services across the health, education, rehabilitation, work, transportation sectors to people with disabilities.
According to statistics issued by the Central Agency for Public Mobilisation and Statistics (CAPMAS) in 2017, 2.7 percent of Egypt’s total population suffered from severe disabilities.
The online registration process encompasses all the data of the person in question in order to assess the difficulties they experience in their daily lives and determine which services they are eligible for.
The government issued 877,000 such cards in the first stage of registration.
In order to further ease the registration process for people with severe disabilities, El-Qabbaj stated that a medical report no older than March 2019 of proof of disability can be presented in lieu of a medical examination.
Medical reports issued by government hospitals, private hospitals affiliated with the Ministry of Health, hospitals of the Armed Forces, or hospitals of the Ministry of Interior are all accepted.
Moreover, El-Qabbaj confirmed the ministry’s intention to increase the numbers of disability proof cards issued through 65 rehabilitation centres operating within Egypt’s borders.
Of these, 26 are affiliated with the Ministry of Social Solidarity, 17 with the Sharjah association and 22 with the presidential Decent Life initiative.
All centres will operate six days a week, six hours a day, with some operating overtime if needed.
In the case of governmental entities, the solidarity ministry has proposed coordinating with the Ministry of Endowments to provide services through Islamic and Christian places of worship within the country.
Furthermore, a cooperation protocol was signed with the Egyptian Red Crescent Society to train volunteers to find and approach people with severe disabilities to register them for the integrated services system, announced El-Qabbaj. The Red Crescent’s doctors are to assist in data entry and registration as well as providing medical reports to workers in rehabilitation centres and NGOs.
Moreover, El-Qabbaj asserted there is an ongoing process of interventions by the ministry to increase general accessibility for people with disabilities.
In partnership with the Ministry of Transport and Communications the solidarity ministry coordinates with the Ataa Charitable Fund to provide wheelchairs, spoken instructions for people with visual disabilities and light signals as well in metro stations for those in need, at a cost of EGP 100 million.
Access to equal education opportunities has been subsidised, confirmed El-Qabbaj, with the ministry paying for those unable to do so.
The provision of prosthetic devices such as talking laptops, white canes, hearing aids, and wheelchairs en masse is also a priority, declared El-Qabbaj.
The minister has also expressed interest in reaching people with disabilities in rural areas and villages through community-based rehabilitation programmes. In addition, the ministry has also been able to register 92,000 people with physical disabilities through the presidential Decent Life initiative.