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Amputees to get help next year
Amputees who cannot afford prosthetics limbs can expect some relief in the new year. This was the assurance given by Minister of the People and Social Development Dr Glenn Ramadharsingh. Speaking to reporters at a hamper distribution exercise at Preysal Community Centre on Thursday night, Ramadharsingh said he planned to roll out his orthotics and prosthetics programme by mid-January 2014. “People who have been suffering because of amputations will finally be able to walk on their own,” he said.
He added, “We will be launching a campaign to determine what help can be given for the deaf and blind and we will also intensify our efforts with the socially disabled ambassadors to help the differently abled,” Ramadharsingh said. He said an immediate action plan to deal with street dwellers will also be ramped up. “We will embark on two months of aggressive action between January to March,” Ramadharsingh said.
He added that the ministry will partner with international experts based locally to build prosthetic limbs for the amputees. Based on ministry statistics, T&T has about 140,000 diabetics. Approximately 400 people lose limbs annually, according to Ministry of Health estimates. Grants, the minister said, would be funded up to about $40,000 per person. In exceptional cases it would not exceed $100,000, the minister added.
He said that the ministry will determine the eligibility of applicants and a committee of ministry officials will survey applications. He said prosthetics have been sourced at a reasonable cost of US$2,000 to $5,000. The normal cost averages about US$20,000 to $30,000. Ramadharsingh also boasted that poverty is slowly being reduced.
“Household and budgetary surveys done by Ministry of Planning shows poverty has fallen from 24.5 per cent to 17.4 per cent. We are intensifying our efforts in that regard to empower people,” Ramadharsingh said. He noted that social mentors will also be hired to provide support to those who are physically challenged in the new year.
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