SDG 3 – Setting the Global Standard for Special Needs Health Services
Part of achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal of Good Health and WellBeing (SDG-3) also means creating societies in which those with disabilities, who are often in more vulnerable health situations, don’t just survive, but thrive.
Israel’s NGO Beit Issie Shapiro (BIS), is paving the way for innovative therapies and services to improve the lives of nearly half a million people living with disabilities. Ensuring an inclusive atmosphere for all sectors of Israeli society, they approach the challenge in three ways: through offering services at the highest level, working to change societal attitudes about disabilities including lobbying with lawmakers and running education campaigns for the public, and working internationally with partners on research and training.
Beit Issie Shapiro is also part of the research efforts on Snoezelen, which is a multi-sensory therapy used for those with developmental disabilities including Alzheimer’s, cancer and PTSD. They also operate one of the largest hydrotherapy training centers in the world and have established over 150 hydrotherapy centers in Israel and created Israel’s first accessible and inclusive playground – a model that was duplicated on over 40 other playgrounds in Israel.
During COVID-19 BIS assisted children with disabilities who were disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. They established virtual home visits by teachers, therapists and social works for emotional and practical support. They launched a virtual special education school, and they also launched an emergency hotline in Hebrew, Arabic and English for those with disabilities and their families stuck at home.
Internationally, BIS’s is an active special consulting organization to the UN, partner with other organizations such as the GATE foundation, ISNA, WHO and EASPD in providing care for those with disabilities. Their Global Professional Development Department works with governments, NGOs and for-profit organizations around the world to expand the services and facilities available to people with disabilities and their families. Their expert team of researchers and professionals have also published over 100 academic papers on the cutting-edge work being done to assist those with disabilities.
By creating a more inclusive community where the public understands the health needs – mentally and physically – of those with disabilities, organizations like Beit Issie Shapiro are bringing us one step closer to reaching the UN’s SDG-3 of good health and well-being for all.
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