Saudis With Disabilities Remain Isolated, Survey Shows
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
February 3, 2003
RIYADH, SAUDI ARABIA--A recent study by Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Health estimated that there are more than 700,000 Saudis with disabilities, the English-speaking news service Arab News reported Monday.
And while the government has enacted new laws, and private charities have set up specialized rehabilitation programs, advocates say the Kingdom needs to do much more to integrate people with disabilities in mainstream Saudi life.
Wheelchair ramps and designated parking places are rare, even at shopping malls and government buildings. Restrooms do not have enough space for wheelchairs to maneuver. Assistive technologies that would help people to be more independent are scarce.
The survey also found that many Saudis with disabilities are victimized by family members, leading more than 60 percent of them to experience psychological problems, many of which go untreated.
The average income for a person with a disability is 8,371 Saudi Riyal ($2,232 US), which is not even enough to cover the cost of medications for many. (Note: The Arab News did not specify whether this was monthly or annual income.)