Have database on disabled people too

PHOTO: Have database on disabled people too

SINGAPORE - I support the plan for a common database of information on all aid recipients ("New database to speed up aid delivery"; Oct 24).

There should also be a separate database on disabled people in Singapore. This will allow the Government to anticipate emerging social needs and build the capabilities to cater to them.

An integrated system can also enable social workers to provide more targeted help.

How many disabled people are isolated at home and not receiving help?

Studies have shown that caregivers are not aware of the services available, and social workers lack the infrastructure to link them up.

Collecting data on the number of disabled people in Singapore remains a challenge.

In 2006, about 9,000 people with disabilities used government-funded services. This does not form a reliable base upon which to measure trends or determine prevalence rates.

The last attempt by the Government and the National Council of Social Service to review the issue ended when the Central Registry of Disabled Persons closed in 1987. It had become a register of users of disability services rather than a full register of disabled people.

A ministry-based registry will give a better sense of the needs on the ground, beyond any assessments we currently have.

Therein lies a key milestone of an inclusive society: Making sure all Singaporeans, disabled or not, know we care and will reach out to them.

Jerrica Ang (Ms)

Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.