Special Olympics Bharat salutes doctors supporting special athletes

NEW DELHI: On National Doctor’s Day, Special Olympics Bharat salutes all medical professionals for their invaluable & exemplary support to people with Intellectual Disabilities during this ongoing pandemic, along with all doctors who are fighting at the frontline against COVID-19.
The suspension of routine activities and the precautionary measures adopted to fight coronavirus have resulted in a drastically altered lifestyle for all. Consequently, this has posed greater challenges to athletes with intellectual abilities as they adjust to this new way of living. In this period, doctors and medical experts have attempted to reach out to the Special athletes and their families digitally with discipline-specific guidance and through sessions of the ‘Family Health Forums’ , hosted by the states of Delhi and Haryana, educating the families to cope up with the current challenges.
With a network of more than 1.5 million athletes and their families, Special Olympics Bharat expresses their gratitude and appreciation to all medical workers who have reached out to this extremely marginalized segment of the society and helped increase their chances of achieving greater heights and maintaining a healthier lifestyle.
Air Marshal Denzil Keelor PVSM, KC, AVSM, VrC, founder and CEO Special Olympics Bharat, says, “On the occasion of National Doctor’s Day, I hail the momentous contributions of doctors across the country who have been selflessly working day and night to save lives, while putting their own safety at risk. In particular, I want to thank our Clinical Directors, who have acted as pillars of support for our Special athletes & their families all through the year. I would like to make a specific mention of the Lions Clubs International & the Aruna Abhay Oswal Trust, who have supported us in strengthening our endeavours in promoting an inclusive healthcare system in our country. Due to stigma and discrimination, people with Intellectual Disabilities are often denied equal access to medical assistance, resulting in reduced life expectancy.”
In a bid to promote a ‘Inclusive Approach to Health’, Special Olympics has been conducting the Healthy Athlete programme which works towards increasing access to quality healthcare for Special athletes and other people with Intellectual Disabilities. The programme offers free health screenings and necessary medical care through trained volunteers. These voluntary services provided by doctors make a huge impact in the lives of Special Olympics athletes.
Dr Maneesha B Vyas, a clinical director of the Healthy Athletes Programme (Health Promotion), says, “I have been involved with the Healthy Athletes Programme since 2007 and it has been a truly fulfilling experience. I hope to see more and more medical professionals volunteering their services to such programmes such as they not only increase access to healthcare for people with intellectual disabilities, but also improve understanding and provide crucial training for health professionals to encourage unified health.”