ABU DHABI, 14th March, 2019 (WAM) — Special Olympics USA athlete Hanna Atkinson, on Wednesday, opened the ‘Healthy Athletes’ event as part of the World Games Abu Dhabi 2019, where all 7,500 athletes competing in the Games will receive free health screenings and health education.
The United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 3 calls for healthy lives and well-being for all, implicitly establishing the goal for persons with disabilities. In a flagship report published on disability and development by the UN, persons with disabilities have a shorter life expectancy and are at “greater risk of developing secondary, comorbid and age-related health conditions, such as depression, pain and osteoporosis.”
Events like Special Olympics Healthy Athletes aims to create a world where people with intellectual disabilities have every opportunity to be healthy and receive inclusive access to health and social support.
According to the Golisano Foundation, the goal behind Healthy Athletes is to improve access to quality healthcare for 11 million people with intellectual disabilities worldwide, where inclusive health leads to creating more opportunities for education, employment, sports, and other pathways to participate in society.
“Most people know Special Olympics for sports. Our sports open doors to physical fitness, courage, joy, and friendship,” said Dr. Meaghan McHugh, Director of Special Olympics Healthy Athletes. “We also open doors to things that affect a person’s whole life, like health.”
Prasanth Manghat, CEO and Executive Director of NMC Health Plc, said, “NMC commits itself daily to provide the best quality health care to UAE communities and 18 other countries worldwide. Partnering with Special Olympics and Healthy Athletes ensures people with determination have the same access to health care as others.”
Special Olympics Healthy Athletes is made possible globally by the Golisano Foundation and locally by NMC Health Plc.