Basseterre, St. Kitts, July 18, 2013 (SKNIS): Tavarez Fahie is the most recent recipient of the revamped efforts by the Ministry of Health and Social Development to ensure the care of persons living with disabilities.
Fahie, his family and caregivers now have access to a hydraulic lift, thanks to several entities, specifically, Healing the Children, the Paediatric Assistance League (PALS) and the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis through the Ministry of Health.
Fahie who received a spinal cord injury at a Community Festival was initially warded at the Joseph N. France General Hospital before being referred to Shriners Hospital in Philadelphia where he spent several months before returning to the Federation.
Chief Medical Officer Dr. Patrick Martin explained why there was need for such a mechanism which is termed a Hoya Lift. He also revealed how the recipient came to the attention of Mrs. Desma Ferrell the Chapter Director of Healing the Children.
“Mrs. Ferrell learnt about Tavarez when he was at Shriners and put in motion the procurement of the Hoya Lift devise to lift him from bed to any other location, so that caregivers don’t have to exert too much pressure on their backs,” Dr. Martin noted.
Dr. Martin further revealed that PALS donated the funds for shipping while the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis provided tax exemption when the Hoya Lift arrived in the Federation. As the representative for the local Chapter of Healing the Children, Dr. Martin revealed that the organization had functioned in the Federation since 1988 under Agnes Skerritt when the first two referrals were made. He noted that since then, over 70 children had been assisted in various ways.
Azilla Clarke, Director of Social Development, expressed gratitude on behalf of Honourable Marcella Liburd, Minister of Health, Social Services, Community Development, Culture and Gender Affairs. She thanked all who had assisted Fahie.
“The rallying force of all of the staid resources, the community of Sandy Point and regional and international partners, such as Healing the Children and PALS shows that there is a rallying force around helping our children and offering them – though adapted – the best quality of life that is possible in St. Kitts,” Ms. Clarke emphasized. “We applaud all partners that have worked arduously to have Tavarez not only treated in St. Kitts but during his stay in Philadelphia. As Dr. Martin indicated the government of St. Kitts and Nevis remains committed to seeing Tavarez accomplish whatever his dreams may be.”
Fahie humbly expressed gratitude.
“Thanks to Shriners Hospital and all others who helped,” Fahie noted.
This donation follows on the heels of July 02, 2013 Media Launch of the Plan of Action for persons living with disabilities which is Phase II of the Human Rights Sensitization and Policy Programmes for Persons Living with Disabilities which took place last December.
The Plan of Action which was compiled by a Project Steering Committee in January of this year includes: Visits to Schools, Outreach with Principles and Parent-Teacher-Associations, Stakeholder Meetings, Public Service Announcements inclusive of Bill Boards, Stamp Competitions, Jingle, Situational Analysis, Survey and Documentation.
Antonio Maynard, the Director General of the St. Kitts and Nevis National Commission for UNESCO revealed that the main objectives of the Plan of Action included promoting awareness of disabled persons in the Federation. It is also intended to encourage government to sign and ratify the convention on persons living with disabilities and change the mindset of person in relation to other individuals living with disabilities.
On that occasion Minister Liburd congratulated all Steering Committee members noting that the local society is all inclusive.
“The goal of my ministry is to move the issues affecting persons living with disabilities from the margins to the mainstream and to turn our compassion into a spirit of living with dignity for all human beings,” Minister Liburd stated.
She also emphasized that her Ministry had ensured that the soon to be established National Health Scheme will cover persons living with disabilities.