Community Based Rehabilitation Services for the Disabled
A caring society cannot close its eyes to the problem of the disabled, considered as one of its most vulnerable and powerless members. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that 10 percent of the population in developing countries are either physically or mentally disabled. The Alimodian survey in 1991 confirmed the WHO finding and showed that 9.6 percent of the total population of the area were disabled. The Department of health (DOH) selected Alimodian as one of its initial three (3) pilot sites in 1991 for the rehabilitation program. An initial batch of thirty three (33) volunteers were trained in 1992 to serve in eleven (11) pilot barangays. In 1996, the volunteers had risen to 113 serving all the 51 barangays and all the disabled in the municipality. The local volunteers in the respective barangays were trained in identifying the impaired, the disabled, and the handicapped together with appropriate intervention for each type of impairment or disability.
As a result of the program, the lives of the 901 identified disabled and their families had been transformed. With family members acquiring basic skills. Rehabilitation services become readily available right at the doorstep of the beneficiaries. The disabed learned to take care of themselves and started earning their income. The families who earlier hid disabled members of their have begun to open up and the community learned to accept and care for the disabled. Even the children learned to call the disabled by their names rather than by their disability. Through this program, the municipality has evolved into a caring society. And most of all, the program has facilitated the breaking down of walls of ignorance on disability and empowered local communities with the knowledge and skills in rehabilitating the disabled. This program is a testimony to the desired objective of putting rehabilitation of the disabled in the hands of the community. Using Alimodian as a model, the DOH replicated the program in 23 local government units in the country.
This program is recognized as a Trailblazing Program, a finalist for the 1997 Galing Pook Awards.