Disability is a very complex issue and it requires collaborative efforts to fight against it said Saima Wazed Hossain, Chairperson, Bangladesh National Advocacy Committee for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders on Wednesday, reports UNB. Saima Wazed, also a Member of the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Expert Advocacy Panel on Mental Health, was addressing as chief guest the launching ceremony of a project for children with disabilities at Sasakawa Auditorium of the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (icddr,b) in Dhaka this morning. With the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) providing financial assistance, the icddr,b, Faith Bangladesh and Shuchona Foundation are conducting the project titled – ‘A Comprehensive Approach to Identify Children with Disabilities through Capacity Building of Government and NGO Health Workers and Disability Service Mapping in Bangladesh.’ It is targeting to early identification of disable children and to make stronger the capability of related stakeholders as well as help to develop a referral association with proper service providers through service mapping. Saima Wazed said the project in many ways attempts to identify what the challenges are and how to reduce the vulnerabilities and how to produce an inclusive and beautiful community with productive and dignified population. She also described about the importance of the project for reducing the vulnerabilities saying that through the initiative they can identify what support the disabled people need, who are able to help them, what resources will be needed and after getting the ideas and data they can step forward for a complete inclusive society by taking further required assistance. Saima, also daughter of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, said, “From 2011, I was knocking door to door to draw international attention for the country’s neurodevelopmental issues and UNICEF is now with us as well as it is very wonderful that the Awami League-led government, politicians and people have woken up about the disabilities and understood the need to help the disabled’. Speaking on the occasion Md Zillar Rahman, Secretary, Ministry of Social Welfare said in Bangladesh there are at least 15 lakh and 10 thousand physically and neurologically disabled people, of which over two lakh are suffering for neurodevelopmental disorders. He said government is currently providing ration money to around 8 lakh which is nearly the half of the total disabled people. Md. Rahman also said the NeurodevelopmentalDisability ProtectionTrust Act2013 and Disability Rights and Protection Act 2013 preserve the rights for the disabled to get all necessary supports from the government but for the insufficiency of resources still the government cannot provide them with the required supports. Among others, Dr. Abul Kalam Azad, Director General of the Directorate General Health Services (DGHS), Dr. Kazi Mustafa Sarwar, Director General of Directorate General of Family Planning (DGFP), Jean Lieby, Head, Child Protection Unit, UNICEF, Nilufer Ahmed Karim, and Executive Director of Faith Bangladesh addressed the ceremony with the acting Executive Director of icddr,b Syed Monjurul Islam in the chair.