Number of people with disabilities growing

The number of people with disabilities has increased in the last five years, Iveta Kancēna, a representative of the Latvian Health Ministry, told LETA on Thursday.

According to data by the State Medical Commission for the Assessment of Health Condition and Working Ability (VDEĀVK), there are currently 168,000 people with disabilities living in Latvia, including almost 8,000 children.

In 2010, the number of people with disabilities was about 150,000. Each year the commission grants disabled status to about 55,000 people, of which 16,000 are pronounced disabled for the first time in their lives. 

Mostly people become disabled through disease. People in disability groups I and II are most often those stricken by mental illnesses, while group III status is granted mostly to people with movement impediments. Disability groups are ranked by severity, with I being the most severe and III the least.

Kancēna said plans are in motion for implementing the basic tenets of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and that the Ministry of Health has come up with a realization plan for 2015 to 2017, currently waiting government approval.

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