20 May 2014 // EDF members from all over Europe came together in Zagreb for EDF's Annual General Assembly on 17/18 May 2014. The meeting was followed by a European conference under the theme: Monitoring the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD). The conference opened a dialogue between national and European organisations of persons with disabilities concerning their view on the upcoming EU report to the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. EDF is preparing an alternative report on the implementation of the UNCRPD in the EU and IF will take the lead on the articles 25 (Health) and 26 (Habilitation and Rehabilitation).
15 May 2014 // One of our long-standing partners, the Flour Fortification Initiative (FFI), is changing its name to the Food Fortification Initiative as it expands its work to include rice. Since rice is most commonly eaten as whole kernels, it is not reflected in the previous name. IF is among the FFI partners which together help national leaders plan, implement, and monitor fortification programs. This strategy will not change; rice will simply be added to FFI's traditional focus on industrially milled flour.
"People around the world get most of their calories and carbohydrates from wheat, rice, and maize. To the extent that we can fortify the milled products of these grains, the greater health impact we will have," said Reynaldo Martorell, Woodruff Professor of International Nutrition and Senior Advisor at the Global Health Institute at Emory University in Atlanta, GA, USA. Martorell is also a member of the FFI Executive Management Team.
5 May 2014 // Last week, the Republic of Georgia adopted guidelines which guarantee life-saving surgeries for children with Hydrocephalus. These guidelines are a direct result of the recommendations published in a Disability Rights International (DRI) report called "Left Behind: the Exclusion of Children and Adults from Reform and Rights Protection in the Republic of Georgia" released in 2013, and a 2012 report from the Georgian Ombudsman. Both reports highlighted the inhumane circumstances of children with Hydrocephalus that were left untreated in the Tbilisi Infant's House, which could be considered the equivalent to torture.
Immediate medical treatment of hydrocephalus, as proposed in the new guidelines, will prevent Georgian children from this ordeal and lower the risk of severe intellectual disability and death. The new medical procedures involve a huge step forward in the protection of human rights of children with hydrocephalus. IF welcomes this great improvement in the lives of children with hydrocephalus and hopes the Georgian government will also follow the DRI key recommendation with regard to children born with Spina Bifida and develop similar guidelines for their treatment and care.