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Online Conference on Targeted Programmes for Persons with Disabilities during Pandemic

On June 15, 2020, the Public Defender of Georgia held an online conference - Targeted Programmes for Persons with Disabilities during Pandemic. Implementation of rehabilitation services tailored to the needs of persons with disabilities, challenges and solutions were discussed at the event dedicated to the National Day of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

In her welcome speech, Public Defender Nino Lomjaria spoke about the negative impact of quarantine and isolation, as well as other restrictions aimed at preventing the virus, and noted that targeted rehabilitation programmes for persons with disabilities were mostly carried out remotely, which in some cases was ineffective and failed to protect the interests of people with certain categories of disabilities. As a result, part of the beneficiaries have been left beyond the necessary services for months, which poses a real threat to the progress made as a result of years of rehabilitation.

According to the Public Defender, it is necessary to timely determine the category of beneficiaries for who are in vital need of face-to-face rehabilitation services. At the same time, the implementation of group services, for example, the programme of providing services in day care centers, which is in fact the only option for the rehabilitation of adults with disabilities in the country, should be adapted to the new reality.

Along with the provision of rehabilitation services, the Public Defender also stressed the need of obeying the preventive measures taken at the local and international level. Adherence to these measures in most cases significantly increases the cost of service delivery, and the implementation of some forms of rehabilitation does not allow for their full protection, which must be taken into account in the process of modifying the services.

Lela Akiashvili, Advisor to the Prime Minister of Georgia for Human Rights and Gender Equality, also delivered a welcome speech and spoke about the activities carried out and planned by the State.

Giga Sofromadze, Advisor to the Tbilisi Mayor for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Gia Kakachia, a representative of the Movement for Changes, and Mari Korkotadze, a parent of a child with disabilities, delivered reports at the conference.

The second part of the meeting was dedicated to the active discussion, which was attended by representatives of state agencies, NGOs and organizations providing targeted services to persons with disabilities, as well as members of the community of persons with disabilities and parents of children with disabilities. The questions of the attendees were answered by Tatia Gvaramadze, a representative of the Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Labour, Health and Social Affairs of Georgia.

The Public Defender of Georgia will actively monitor the process of resolving the specific problems and challenges identified at the meeting.

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