Since 1992, the United Nations International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) has been annually observed every December 3rd around the world. The theme for this year 2018 IDPD is “Empowering persons with disabilities and ensuring inclusiveness and equality”.
The Empowerment and Disability Inclusive Development (EDID) program of the CBC Health Services on November 28, 2018 commemorated IDPD by organizing Inclusive Sports to promote talents and healthy life style among people with disabilities in Bafoussam, West Region of Cameroon.
A CBM 2013 study of the Economic Cost of exclusion and gains of inclusion of people with disabilities revealed that households with disabilities in Low Middle Income Countries like Cameroon spend 36% more average monthly income on health care than households without disabilities.
The study also revealed that even when people with disabilities access care, they are less likely to receive routine checks on issues such as blood pressure, weight, sugar level and other Non-Communicable Diseases which results in serious health complications at late stages.
Mr. Andre Kamga, Program Officer of the EDID Program and also a person with disability says the sporting event is to promote talents among people with disabilities. “This event is to encourage a healthy life style among people with disabilities and to prove to the world that people with disabilities have talents worthy to be supported,” said Mr. Kamga.
Mr. Kamga expressed that sports is a fundamental human right, and by this way people with disabilities need to express their talents for the communities to know that some of them are capable of representing their communities elsewhere.
“Reducing inequalities and barriers to inclusion through such an event may not only lead to health gains amongst people with disabilities, but also increase their social, cultural and economic participation in the communities”, he added.
The sporting campaign that started in 2014, and sponsored by the Liliane Foundation through the EDID program of the CBC Health Services holds under the canopy of the National Games event popularly known as DIXCIADES. The program features different sporting activities such as football, volleyball, wheel race, bag race, bras de fair and others. Athletes came from all 8 Divisions of the West Region.
Cindy Micheline, mother of three children and winner of the Wheel race in the women category expressed her joy aloud, “I am so happy to win for my people in Bafoussam”, She said,
“Sport is very good, and you need to keep yourself fit constantly. It may feels tiring in the beginning but you need to persevere and be consistent because you will feel stronger at the end.
Micheline is 42-year-old. She told us that she trains herself everyday by her every day walk and tasks, which she intentionally engages in, to keep herself healthy and fit.
World Health Organisation (WHO) reports that about 15% of the world’s population lives with a disability, and cost billions to carter for them. There is even a greater loss when they are not included in development policies or given the chance to contribute to global GDP.
Disability advocates say the biggest problem is when people still think of minor roles or disable roles to place people with disabilities in social or economic works. Everyone with the needed skills should be given the chance irrespective of their conditions.
Nuja Junior, 23 year-old visually impaired who won the 100M race in 10.9 seconds feels encouraged and wants to be the best runner in Cameroon. “I am so happy to emerge the winner of the 100M Race Men’s category of DIXCIADES 2018. I feel so courageous to do my best to see that I emerge the best in the whole of Cameroon,” Junior said.
“I am training hard towards the national competition, that is when I plan to give my best to see that I even go beyond Cameroon and get to the international scene if given the opportunity,” he added.
According to the International Center for Evidence in Disability, societies and organizations that give opportunities to people with disabilities turn to have better productivity and loyalty
The sporting event did not involve only people with disabilities but also included people without disabilities for a better spirit of solidarity and inclusion.
The Regional Delegate of Social Affairs for the West Region, Mr. Fonsah Emanuel explained that the government of Cameroon is taking positive measures to ensure a better inclusion of persons with disabilities. He announced that in 2010, government passed a law on the protection of persons with disabilities, and this year 2018, government has come up with a text of application to ensure practical inclusion and protection of people with disabilities.
The Regional Delegate added that there are also setups for economic and social inclusion of people with disabilities, given that someone with a disability doesn’t live in his or her own world, but live with people in the community.
He noted that pilot schools exist in Bafoussam to ensure inclusion of children with disabilities with other children. He said the DIXCIADES event is highly supported by the government to see that people with disabilities live a healthy life and ensure that their talents are promoted.