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Families charge discrimination against services to the disabled

Date Posted: 2008-12-25

Disgruntled disabled people and their families are speaking out against the system in Okinawa, which often leaves them without need services or subsidy money to survive.

They’re locked in discussions with Okinawa Prefecture staff, demanding action be taken to improve their circumstances. They are telling government officials there’s often no care available for them at hospitals, and once discharged from a medical facility, there are no follow up services offered. On disabled person, Yukari Kohama, says “everyone has the feeling that support has been declining at a time when we need lots of support.”

Kohama says there are often no signs for disabled at hospitals, and says no after-care training is being offered. He says families have gotten sick from trying to take care of disabled persons at home. Another family demands to know “Why subsidy money is cut when children reach age 20? They’re problems don’t go away then.” Still another says “I’m a single mother, and I need more support from the Prefecture, but instead, they cut subsidy money. Just because my son turned 20, there’s no difference in him. I can’t support him by myself.”

Money, or lack of it, is a principal complaint. “When I ask for help from the hospital, such as when we transfer from hospital to home, my bus fare is paid by the prefecture, but the cost of medical workers is not.”

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