Quality of life for persons living with disabilities improved significantly – Minister Anthony

Free hearing aids, spectacles, and joint replacement among initiatives

The Health Ministry has been making several strides to improve the quality of life for persons living with disabilities as several programmes were rolled out in 2022.

Monies were expended to acquire assistive devices for these persons; these included hearing aids, spectacles, walking canes and wheelchairs.

Health Minister, Hon. Dr Frank Anthony

Also, the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) collaborated with Operation Walk Maryland, to conduct knee and hip replacement on persons. Fifty-five persons have benefitted from this initiative.

Speaking during his daily COVID-19 Update on Friday,Minister, Dr Frank Anthony said, “this type of collaboration would continue. We already are working with other partners to come in next year to work with us to help with joint replacement. So, this is another programme that we have to assist people who would have otherwise been immobilised and, in some cases, confined to wheelchairs, but by giving them this type of surgery, they can actually walk again.”

At the Ptolemy Reid Rehabilitation Centre (PRRC), a classroom was expanded to allow for autistic students.

Five hundred (500) persons with hearing impairments have also benefitted from free hearing aids. Before this initiative came onstream, persons were required to pay $65,000 for this service.

In addition, 597 persons have received free spectacles through the ministry’s Snap-on Spectacles programme.

“With both hearing and the sight programmes that we have, we have professionals who would ensure that the persons are properly tested and if they require, then they are issued with either the spectacles or hearing aids.

“I think a lot of people have been very grateful for these programmes because we’re targeting a lot of the hinterland community where these services never existed before,” Dr Anthony explained.

Operation Walk Maryland performing on a patient

Apart from these interventions, training sessions were conducted with Physicians across the country to correct the club-foot deformity at an early stage.

“We started training this year in how to correct the non-surgical correction of clubfeet and a lot of Physicians from different parts of the country have undergone that training, so, when they diagnose children with these conditions, they can treat them in the regions itself.”

The ministry will work to address the backlog of persons needing prosthetics in 2023.

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