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Venezuela’s Legislature Passes Disability Rights Law

Caracas , November 17, 2006 (— The Venezuelan National Assembly yesterday passed a new Law for Persons with Disabilities that will guarantee disabled people medical assistance and will ensure they are adequately represented in the work place. The law includes physical, hearing, mental, and visual disabilities.

Under the law employers will have only 3 years to ensure that disabled people hold at least 5% of positions in their companies. Prior to this the previous law only required 2% and even then that only applied to companies with more than 50 employees.

The law also requires public and private media to include “mechanisms” such as sign language in their programs and that public transport includes facilities that make it easier for the disabled to use. The law means that handicapped people will join with diabetics, heart and liver patients to receive preferential treatment in the health system.

Mission Barrio Adentro IV to be Launched Providing 16 Brand New Hospitals in Venezuela

Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez announced yesterday that Barrio Adentro IV would be launched in just a few days. The new project will involve the opening of 16 new hospitals across the country.

Speaking at the opening of a new health centre named Dr. Salvador Allende in Caracas, Chávez said the hospitals would be built in various parts of the country where currently access to health services are in poor.

Barrio Adentro IV is part of the governments “integral health program.” The first stage was in 2003 when community clinics, staffed by Cuban doctors were set up in poor neighborhoods, giving people living there access to basic health services for the first time. They were mainly for preventative care. Barrio Adentro II & III were programs for curative medical treatment and hospital repair respectively.

Mission Smile was also launched yesterday, which has the goal of providing free dental treatment to Venezuelans. Seven out of ten Venezuelan over the age of 25 have lost teeth, which implies that 10 million Venezuelans need this treatment. President Chávez called on dentists around the country to join and help in the program.

Published on Nov 17th 2006 at 1.15pm