Islamabad, 20 October 2019 (GNP):
Pakistan Speech and Language Pathologist Association (PSLPA) launched to help raise awareness on speech, hearing and communication disorders and to help treat and rehabilitate individuals suffering from such disorders. Provision of timely treatment can help make individuals suffering from such disabilities a productive citizen of the state.
Federal Parliamentary Secretary, National Health Services, Dr. Nausheen Hamid while addressing the launching ceremony of PSLPA said that Pakistan Tehrik-e–Insaf’s (PTI) government has already embarked upon Sehat Sahulat Programme where persons with all kind of disabilities and their families was given health cards on priority. “The government is committed to provide quality and affordable health services to the citizens of Pakistan and to improve the standard of living and social well being of the people”, she said added there is a pressing need to deviate from the past and actively identify and treat individuals suffering from any disability recognized by the World Health Organization.
Dr. Nausheen said that the government is determined to eliminate quackery in the medical and allied health professions, and will ensure standardization of healthcare education and accreditation of related educational institutions. She said the government is also making efforts to leave no one behind in access to basic health and education facilities, which also help the country to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s). Moreover, we are also working round the clock to tackle the menace of dengue and to achieve eradication of Polio, she added.
President, Pakistan Speech Language Pathologist Association (PSLPA), Dr. Nazia Mumtaz said the prevalence of speech, communication and hearing disorders is significantly high in our society. “Unfortunately, sufficient number of trained and qualified Speech and Language Pathologists (SLP/T’s) are not available in the country”, she said adding speech language therapy enables individuals suffering from such disabilities to help make them productive citizens of the state and improve their quality of life. Dr. Nazia said PSLPA aim to raise public awareness regarding the profession of Speech and Language Pathology (SLP/T) and to provide a platform, where SLP specialists share best international practices and clinical guidelines, latest national & international research and suggest proposals for establishing a regulatory framework for the profession. There is a dire need of elimination of quackery in this profession and standardization of curriculum as well as accreditation of educational and research institutions through necessary regulatory regime, she stressed.
Dr Nazia said that SLP is an emerging yet fast spreading allied health discipline in Pakistan and internationally. “Through mainstreaming and inclusive education the social and economic burden of individuals suffering from speech, hearing and communication disorders is likely to be reduced on the state, community and the family”, she said added Pakistan is a signatory to international treaties and conventions where the right to inclusive education is recognized with a focus on the need for governments to ensure equal access to an “inclusive education system at all levels” and ensure equitable accommodation and individual support services to persons with disabilities.
Executive Director, the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), Dr Abid Qaiyum Suleri said speech therapy remained an ignored field in Pakistan’s health care system. “It is essential that along with creating awareness, launch of public sector development projects in this domain would not only provide affordable and quality rehabilitative services but also generate employment opportunities for fresh graduates”, he said adding the efforts of PSLPA for taking lead in this initiative to raise awareness is commendable.
The launch ceremony was attended by the policy makers, health professionals, academia, speech language pathologists and speech therapists. (GNP)