Disasters often disproportionately affect vulnerable populations, including persons with disabilities, who face unique challenges during emergencies. Recognising the importance of inclusive disaster preparedness, Green Pastures Hospital’s Community Medical Outreach Project organised a workshop on 16th January to commemorate Earthquake Protection Day in collaboration with various stakeholders. The workshop aimed to foster dialogue, raise awareness, and develop strategies to address the specific needs of persons with disabilities in disaster situations.

The workshop, held in partnership with the Gandaki Province government, Disability Inclusive Disable Association (DIDA) Nepal, and Nepal Federation of Disable Network-Gandaki (NFDN), brought together key stakeholders from government, civil society, and the disability community.

The workshop was facilitated by Tirtha Bhattarai, Secretary of the Office of the Chief Minister and Council of Ministers Gandaki Province, and Khom Raj Sharma, Chairperson of NFDN-Gandaki. Tara Hang Tawa, Coordinator of the Community Medical Outreach Project, welcomed the participants.

Honourable Chief Minister of Gandaki province Surendra Raj Pandey emphasised the government’s commitment to developing policies inclusive of disability in disaster risk reduction. He promised to incorporate disability-friendly infrastructure into the province’s policy and planning frameworks, stressing the need for accessible infrastructure codes and guidelines. Opposition party Leader Khagraj Adhikari, advocating for integrating disability-friendly features in all infrastructure projects, reflected a similar sentiment.

The workshop provided a platform for diverse voices, including Chief District Officers, civil society representatives, duty bearers, and rights holders, to share their experiences and insights.

All the participants agreed on the importance of inclusive approaches in disaster management. They also highlighted the need for sustained efforts and collaboration between government agencies, civil society, and the disability community.

About the Project:

The Community Medical Outreach Project, run by INF Nepal’s Green Pastures Hospital and supported by Humedica and INF UK, focuses on improving healthcare, especially for vulnerable groups like people with disabilities, those affected by leprosy, and communities at risk of disasters. The project aims to significantly enhance the health of these marginalised populations in remote areas through targeted medical services and disaster preparedness efforts.