The International Day of Persons with Disabilities is observed annually on 3 December to promote awareness on disability issues, the fundamental rights of persons with disabilities and their integration into the main stream of each aspect of the social, political, economic and cultural realms of their communities.The day extends an opportunity to initialise action to reach the target of full and equal pleasure of human rights and contribution in society by disabled persons, launched by the World Program of Action for Disabled Persons, declared by the UN General Assembly in 1982.
Actual facts and figures from the World Health Organization affirm that there are 600 million disabled people worldwide, about almost 10 per cent of the entire global population. It is also estimated that about 80 per cent of these disabled people live in developing nations.The role of the community is reforming mindsets to accept that disability is not inability. Various projects have been initiated, such as Run for Sight, an annual event held every October in Kenya with its ambassador, Henry Wanyoike behind it. It is to help blind people gain sight through restorative procedures and surgery. Wanyoike is a marathoner and has run both local and international marathons though he is blind.
The event has attracted international attention and runners from all over the world.Globally, it is estimated that one in every ten people has a disability and recent studies show that persons with disabilities comprise 20 per cent of the population living in below the poverty line in developing countries.This day provides a chance to make a dedicated commitment to the principles of empowering disabled persons and to free them from the yokes imposed by society and which prevent them realising their full potential.
It is an apt and opportune moment to reflect on the role that they should play in bettering their own lives and livelihoods as well as in making their rightful contribution to the communities they live in.
WORLD AIDS DAY 2010
A generation born free of HIV is within the world’s reach World AIDS Day was marked with a sense of victory after years of failed concepts to produce either a cure or preventive tool against HIV infection. After 25 years since the first case of HIV was diagnosed in Kenya, an extensive study has been released and indicated that a drug already being used to treat AIDS can prevent the spread of the epidemic in many cases if taken as a preventive.
This is a boost to the researchers who have spent sleepless nights working on a control for the virus. The theme being ‘Universal Access and Human Rights’, the emphasis is making sure that everyone who qualifies for treatment gets access. The Kenyan Government 2008-2012 plan on HIV is to achieve universal access to treatment.
This year’s theme challenges governments and policymakers to strive towards prevention and care and urges them to recognise these as human rights.
According to the National and AIDS/STI Control Programme (Nascop), there are 7,000 prostitutes in Nairobi every night. With such an alarming figure, the HIV and AIDS Prevention and Control Act 2006 came into effect on December 1, 2010. It states that sexual partners who willfully infect others face a fine of Sh500,000 or alternatively risk being jailed for a term not exceeding seven years with or without a fine.
A generation born free of HIV and AIDS is within the world’s reach. Africa is at a tipping point. Taking the HIV test is a personal decision to achieving a target of zero new infections. This is a result of endless interventions undertaken since AIDS was declared a national disaster in 1999.
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