DfID Focus on Disability

by Developed Africa 14. July 2014 09:00

It is a topic that has rarely seen a lot of attention from international development organisations, but DfID is starting to commit to greater social inclusion in terms of aid provision.

This news comes after the international development select committee's examination of disability and development, and DfID have responded by committing to ensure that disability becomes a focus of its work, and also to step up its work on disabilities during international crises.

Back in April, Lynne Featherstone commented on the findings of the select committee:

I'm delighted that the International Development Committee has shone a spotlight on the urgent problems faced by people with diabilities in developing countries. For too long, people with disabilities have been treated as an after-thought even though they are often the poorest people and lack access to basic services... I'm determined to increase our focus on disability within DfID, and I'm encouraged by the recommendations the Committee has made."

And already, policies can be seen to have been implemented that confirm DfID's new dedication to this cause. For example the UK has now committed £39 million to support the Surgery, Antiobiotics, Facial Cleanliness and Environmental Improvements strategy, in order to eliminate Trachoma in countries such as Ethiopia, Tanzania and Zambia. Trachoma is an eye infection which can lead to blindness, and is very common in the aforementioned countries. The programme will:

help thousands of people receive surgery to prevent blindness; see millions of doses of antibiotics distributed, and improve cleanliness to stop the spread of the disease, including eliminating the conditions which promote disease carrying flies."

Trachoma is a key example of a disability that sends people already living in poverty into a vicious cycle from which there is often little hope of escape. DfID's new focus on ensuring that people with disabilities are part of all decisions that are made, rather than a second thought will stop them being overlooked, and will hopefully move other international organisations to act in a similar fashion.

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