ABU DHABI -- A one-year agreement on implementation of manual for classification of impairments, disabilities, and handicaps was signed on Sunday in Abu Dhabi between Zayed Higher Organisation for Humanitarian Care and Special Needs (ZHO), Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC), Health Authority - Abu Dhabi (HAAD) and Abu Dhabi Statistics Centre (SCAD).

ZHO and ADEC also sealed a three-year memorandum of understanding (MoU) for inclusion of HZO's students in general education schools.

In a statement after attending the signing ceremony, H.H. Sheikh Khalid bin Zayed Al Nahyan Chairman of the Board of Zayed Higher Organisation for Humanitarian Care and Special Needs (ZHO), said the MoU would open up new prospects for people with disabilities by providing them with promising opportunities to participate in the building and development of their community.

''This segment will benefit from a range of programmes and activities as per best international practices,'' H.H. Sheikh Khalid bin Zayed added.

H.H. lauded the endorsement of the manual for classification of impairments, disabilities, and handicaps by the ZHO and its strategic partners as a qualitative step forward in the path of setting out a plan of action and a roadmap to improve services provided to these segments in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.

The agreement calls for setting up a 13 member joint committee to prepare a strategic plan for implementation of the manual, hold orientation workshops and awareness campaigns and share information with other partners.

The manual, the first of its kind in Abu Dhabi, will bring all segments of disabilities under 13 standard categories and ensure enforcement of provisions stated in the Federal Law No. (29) of 2006 Concerning the Rights of People with Special Needs.

As a recognised reference, the manual will make optimum investment of available resources and potentials of partners to deliver world-class services to these groups.

The manual will feature a clear vision for the future of these groups, basic services, an accurate unified data base,an e-link for partners, standards for evaluation, diagnosis and detection as well as studies and surveys on disabilities.

The ZHO will hold meetings with other partners to address challenges and update the manual on yearly basis to improve the services. It will prepare bi-annual reports, follow implementation of recommendations and contribute to conducting studies and surveys.

As for ADEC, it will endorse the definitions and terminologies of people with disabilities as stated in the manual in all its resolutions and transactions. It will also draw plans for improving the manual's services in area of education.

For SCAD, its mission will focus on using terminologies in the studies and surveys it will conduct and establishing an e-system that links data bases of partners together.

HAAD will report cases of disabilities in newborns up to four years, use standard methods for diagnosis and detection of disability and conduct studies on disabilities.

Source: Emirates News Agency