Community Health in Mongolia

Mongolia: ADRA Improves Access to Education and Health Services for Children with Disabilities

SILVER SPRING, Md. – In Mongolia the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) is helping society transform the way they view children with disabilities, and give them access to education and health services. This is being achieved through a project called, Ensuring Access to Education and Health for Children with Cognitive Disabilities (EACH).

The birth of a disabled child can be stressful for most parents. In Mongolia social welfare provided by the government assists parents of disabled children by giving them a home care allowance among other types of support.

Unfortunately this vital care was not available to parents of children with cognitive disabilities. This was due to limited knowledge and understanding of the condition, and the professional assumption that children with cognitive disabilities do not need permanent and special care, and do not carry a burden in terms of that care.

“When parents who have a child with cognitive disabilities apply for the disabled children’s care allowance, social welfare department officers reject them by saying that their children are normal and they are not eligible for that kind of allowance. But in fact they do require special care,” says Yadmaa, a mother of a child with cognitive disabilities. She adds that, “people generally do not recognize cognitive disabilities unless they have obvious physical limitations, for instance the child is deaf and dumb.”

These issues were discussed during a parents’ meeting group organized by the EACH project staff in partnership with the Association of Parents with Disabled Children (APDC) and the Ministry of Social Welfare and Labor. The project, with its partners, has been conducting a series of policy forums, discussions and lobbying meetings with decision-makers and key stakeholders to resolve these issues.

As a result of these collaborative efforts parents’ now have assistance. A provision has been added in Article 3.1.6 of the Law on Social Welfare to make the home care allowance payable to parents of children with cognitive disabilities. The Article specifies that, “the person or child who needs permanent care”, which means people who are unable to deal with daily needs by his/herself, include an adult or child with a cognitive disability or mental illness. Now parents of children with cognitive disabilities or those children with cognitive disabilities in permanent care will start getting a home care allowance from the government every month according to the new provision of the law.

The EACH project is co-funded by the European Commission and ADRA-UK and implemented by ADRA Mongolia.

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