Community-based rehabilitation (CBR) services in the Pacific have been part of the life’s journey of persons with disabilities in the region.
The 5 components (education, health, livelihood, social and empowerment) of the CBR matrix provide a comprehensive and holistic approach to the development of persons with disabilities in our Pacific communities.
Mr Setareki Macanawai the CEO for Pacific Disability Forum said in his statement, “Persons with disabilities should be able to access all health services and facilities; attend preschool, primary, secondary and tertiary education; enjoy social and livelihood activities and be empowered to rich their maximum potential in life and become contributing members of their families and society”
He stressed that for CBR to work effectively in the Pacific, it is necessary to have partnerships among stakeholders.
“Partnerships among stakeholders ensure that the CBR programme receives all the support and resources it needs in order to fully address the various needs of persons with disabilities”, he said.
“Governments, development partners and Disabled persons organisations (DPOs) as well as service providers should all play their part in implementing, monitoring and sustaining the programme”, said Mr. Macanawai.
Similarly, the Deputy Secretary General for the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS), Ms. Cristelle Pratt said the partnership between PIFS and the World Health Organisation (WHO), PDF, and importantly National Governments and Disabled Persons Organisations is extremely important and invaluable for the Secretariat.
Mr. Macanawai stressed that all stakeholders must experience a sense of ownership of the CBR programme to ensure there are commitment, buy-in and investment towards improving the quality of life of persons with disabilities. Issues facing persons with disabilities must be a shared responsibility and everyone’s business, and leadership plays a key role.
“Leadership on the part of key stakeholders is inevitable if services for persons with disabilities are to be properly implemented and well resourced”, said Mr. Macanawai.
“Pacific governments’ leaders have expressed their political commitment towards improving the lives of persons with disabilities through the various Forum leaders Communique”, he said.
“Civil society, private sector and other institutions should also exercise leadership to ensure persons with disabilities do not miss out on receiving those essential services that the general population often take for granted, said Mr. Macanawai.
Meanwhile, the 2nd Pacific CBR forum is currently being held in Nadi, Fiji hosted by the Pacific Disability Forum, World Health Organisation and the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat.