Despite the fact that 7 to 10 per cent of Nepalis, mostly children, live with some form of disability, the country thus far had no national strategy to tackle it. Though a little late, the Ministry of Health and Population has come up with National Child Disability Management Strategy-2064 under the initiative of Save The Children Norway. It is noteworthy that Nepal had signed the UN Convention on Rights of the Persons with Disability and its Optional Protocol back in 2006. Nonetheless, the new MoHP strategy aimed at identifying disability in under-14 children and treating and rehabilitating them at the community level has given all Nepalis living with disability hope of a better future.
In the short term, the ministry will establish â€˜Child Disability Management and Rehabilitation Sectionâ€™ to conduct training programmes for the disabled, work for inclusion of disability management in courses of health workers and research into child disability. In the long run, emphasis will be on availing healthcare services for those with disability at local facilities around the country. Disability, either physical or psychological, is as much a personal problem as it is an enormous social challenge. The country cannot afford to lose a tenth of its manpower owing to faulty policies. But only a concerted effort of all sections of the society will empower the differently-abled in real sense of the term.