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MALAYSIANS IN THE COUNTRY WITH PARKINSON'S DISEASE MAY BE RECOGNISED AS PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES AT LAST!
THE PROCESS FOR THIS TO BECOME A REALITY MAY VERY WELL HAPPEN AS SOON AS THE FIRST QUARTER OF THE COMING NEW YEAR IN 2011.
|Sharizat, aNt & Shen-Yang|
This was announced by Minister of Women, Family and Community Development Dato Sri Sharizat Abdul Jalil in a special meeting organised by PETPOSITIVE at her office in Jalan Dato Onn in Kuala Lumpur last Monday.
Speaking to representatives from the Malaysian Animal-Assisted Therapy for the Disabled and Elderly Association (PETPOSITIVE), Malaysian Parkinson's Disease Association (MPDA), Independent Living and Training Centre and Dyslexia Association of Malaysia, Dato Sri Sharizat said that now that her Ministry was convinced that Parkinson's disease (PD) ought to be legally categorised as a disability in the country, it was time for the next step to take place.
And that is to take the matter to the Health Ministry.
"Once we get their nod, we can proceed with the necessary to issue disabled identification cards to People with Parkinson's (PwP)", said Sharizat, adding that it was "not fair at all for PwP's who often suffered even more severe disabilities than some of the other handicapped categories to be denied of such a status."
The Minister was echoing the professional views that was put to her by MPDA's medical adviser Dr Lim Shen-Yang who represented the national society at the meeting.
A consultant neurologist with a special interest in PD, Dr Lim called for PwP's to be added as people with disabilities without delay so that they can qualify for a range of benefits under the disability status label.
"Their exclusion from the list for all these years have been a glaring omission," pointed out Dr Lim in his presentation to the Minister.
He went on to explain that PD is a chronic and progressive degenerative disease of the brain with no known cure.
Except for some patients with a relatively recent onset of illness, almost all patients are disabled by the disease.
"This is due to how the disease causes impairment of movements (with patients experiencing slowness of movements, stiffness and shaking).
"In addition, a broad range of 'non-motor' symptoms commonly occur, including mental difficulties, (for example, difficulty concentrating or problem-solving, panic attacks or visual hallucinations), excessive daytime sleepiness, lightheadedness, urinary problems and so on."
After the meeting, Dr Lim told PET+BLOGSPOT that he was grateful that Sharizat had given the MPDA her time and attention to hear out the Society's proposal.
"Her response was indicative that the Ministry welcomed input from patient support groups, medical specialists and other interested parties who deal with problems on a day-to-day basis.
"All in all, it was a brief but productive meeting. It is hoped that the suggestions agreed upon will be followed through with the end result of improved quality of PwP," concluded Dr Lim.
The Women, Family and Community Development Ministry has promised to get back to Petpositive and MPDA on the outcome of their special meeting with the Ministry of Health on the matter.