Access to care in WHO declaration of Bucharest

The WHO conference in Bucharest adopted a strong declaration called 'Better health, better lives: children and young people with intellectual disabilities and their families'. The conference was closed by a panel of persons with learning disabilities. They gave a strong testimony on their poor quality of life in institutions. As self-advocates they contribute to a better understanding of their needs and some of them are training professionals to cope better with persons with learning disabilities. IF President Pierre Mertens stated that in many European countries, but also in most developing countries, children with Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus have learning disabilities caused by lack of treatment or lack of access to available treatment. He calls on IF and its members to be more active to ensure that persons with learning disabilities are represented and served correctly. Download the declaration here.

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Conference on children and young people with intellectual disabilities


Bucharest, Romania
26-27 November 2010

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In memoriam Hans Høegh

On October 31, 2010, Mr. Hans Høegh, founder of A Better Life Foundation (ABLF) and the International Disability Foundation, passed away in his town of birth Oslo, Norway, at the age of 84. From 1957 - 1975, Hans Høegh chaired many humanitarian projects for the Oslo Red Cross and the Norwegian Red Cross and in 1975 was elected President of the latter. Mr. Høegh served as Assistant Secretary General of the United Nations as Special Representative of the Secretary General for the Promotion of the United Nations Decade of Disabled Persons. Throughout his life he showed great care and concern for disadvantaged people, victims of war and disasters, refugees, the homeless, and people with disabilities. In 1998 Hans Høegh received the IF Award for all the work he has done to improve the lives of children and adults with disabilities worldwide, including those with Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus in the IF projects in the South. With Hans IF is loosing one of its best friends. IF would not have been where we are now without his support.

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Hans Høegh, founder of A Better Life Foundation

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IF visit to Rwanda

On his first visit to Rwanda president Pierre Mertens visited a small hospital in Gikonko in the South of the country. The hospital treats many children with Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus. Dr. Uta Düll is a very motivated and enthusiastic German surgeon, who has already operated over 100 children with Spina Bifida and/or Hydrocephalus. This year she will probably reach 60 children with SB/H. She is keen to invest in complete care for our children and asks for training in continence management. The president also met with the Minister of Health, Dr. Richard Sezibera. Dr. Sezibera assured him that Rwanda is developing a Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus programme for the country. The programme will include measures for primary prevention, such as fortification of staple food, appropriate surgery, and follow-up care. He referred IF to the neurosurgeon Dr. Emmanuel Nkusi of the King Faisal Hospital in Kigali, who will contribute to this national plan. Both the Minister of Health and Dr. Nkusi support the establishment of a Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus self-help group.
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German surgeon Dr. Uta Düll is dedicated to improving the lives of children with Spina Bifida and/or Hydrocephalus in Rwanda

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