Sport can promote physical rehabilitation and enable people with disabilities to be more fulfilled

It is not only an outstanding instrument for personal development, it is also a powerful unifying force. It is a major issue for the inclusion of people with disabilities in all spheres of society.

Sports and recreational games generate enthusiasm and well-being. Regular exercises can provide physical, but also mental benefit. Also collective passion and support for a particular sport or a team creates a sense of community. People with disabilities who participate in sport sometimes even forget their disability and this helps them feel better and progress.

In order for people with disabilities to participate in sport, physical rehabilitation is an essential first step. And the needs for physical rehabilitation services and devices, especially in low- and middle- income countries, are very high. In fact, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), one billion people are in need of an assistive technology. Sadly, this figure should rise to more than two billion by 2050.

Unfortunately, still according to the WHO, 90% of people requiring assistive devices do not have access to them. Thus, in order to meet the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its ultimate goal of “leaving no one behind”, WHO has adopted a resolution whose aim is to improve access to assistive device. This resolution urges Member States to take the necessary measures to improve access to assistive devices.

This commitment by WHO and other international actors indicates a momentum in addressing the unacceptable situation of the majority of people with disabilities in the world and particularly in developing countries. We are also working alongside the WHO, with whom we have a partnership, to strengthen the implementation of this resolution in the countries where we are active.

Together with the Tanzania Paralympic Committee (TPC), we organized a match between two men’s teams and two women’s teams on 22 March 2018 after donating 12 multisport wheelchairs to the TPC. The wheelchair handover ceremony was presided over by Ms Josephine Lyengi, a representative from Prime Minister’s Office.

The basketball matches took place after the handover. Inclusivity was the key to both women’s and men’s wheelchair basketball events. Both able-bodied and players with disabilities demonstrated their skills in dribbling, passing, catching and shooting the ball on wheelchairs