Celebrating the International Day of Persons with disAbilities

Today is “the annual observance of the International Day of Disabled Persons (IDPD)” which “was proclaimed in 1992, by the United Nations General Assembly resolution 47/3. The observance of the Day aims to promote an understanding of disability issues and mobilize support for the dignity, rights and well-being of persons with disabilities. It also seeks to increase awareness of gains to be derived from the integration of persons with disabilities in every aspect of political, social, economic and cultural life.

The main programme of the observance of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities at the UN Headquarters in New York will include the Opening, panel discussions and cultural events. Member States, civil society organizations and the private sector are welcome to organize their own events to celebrate the International Day to raise awareness and promote the rights and perspectives of persons with disabilities around the world.”

The theme for IDPD 2017: “Transformation towards sustainable and resilient society for all” 

DAI and many others have worked tirelessly to ensure our rights as person with disabilities are being observed, and last year, following the mhGAP forum in Geneva, we were delighted a fourth category under the Mental Health umbrella where we sat, now includes a fourth category of persons with cognitive disabilities.

We lobbied for this in 2016 because dementia is not a mental illness, it is not an intellectual disability, and it is not a psychosocial disability, and were joined by Autism International, as people with autism do not fit into those categories either.

DAI also attended the mhGAP Forum in 2017, with a focus on the Global Action Plan for Dementia adopted at the World Health Assembly in May this year. It is pleasing this plan includes seven cross cutting principles, and we’ve also been working with some countries to develop their Nationa Dementia Plans, with the goal of ensuring CRPD, SDG’s, CBR and other relevant issues are being included.

For the second year in a row,  Dementia Alliance International has also been granted Observer Status membership  of The International Disability Alliance (IDA), and will continue to actively work towards full membership status. Whilst we may not like a second ‘negative label’, ensuing the symptoms of any type of dementia are seen and treated as disAbilities, potentially will have to change the focus away from the current deficits based model of care, to one based on a psychosocial and disAbility pathway of support.

After all, whilst we are people living with a progressive, chronic and fatal neurological condition, the symptoms of dementia must be seen and supported as disAbilities, to ensure we can live as positively and independently for as long as possible. Who knows, one day, the work by Professor Dale Bredesen and others in reversing dementia may even become mainstream???