Sweden is in need of an investment in public health to make the health situation better for people with disabilities. But are the politicians ready to take the leap?
First week in July, the epicenter of Swedish politics and business temporarily move from Stockholm to Visby, on the island of Gotland. During the week, called Almedalsveckan, 45 000 visitors attend more than 7 000 workshops, speeches, debates and receptions which take place in pop-up locations like gardens, shops and warehouses.
Wednesday 3rd of July was the day of sports, a day to celebrate and highlight the Swedish sports movement.
The Swedish Parasport federation kicked of the day early by organizing a breakfast seminar. Four Swedish politicians and Åsa Llinares Norlin, chairman of the Swedish Parasport federation, participated in a panel discussion. The discussion was about the theme of the Special Olympics World Winter Games 2021 – public health.
For young people with disabilities, the health situation is ten time worse compared to the public in general. At the same time, for every person with a disability that goes from a passive to an active lifestyle, the society can save up to 330 000 Swedish kronor (35 500 US dollar) annually.
The conclusion: we are in need of an investment in public health to get a hold of the problem.
The question: are the politicians ready to take the leap?
Before the Almedalen week, Novus did a survey on behalf of the Swedish Parasport federation. The survey asked members of the Swedish parliament about their view on the health-situation for people with intellectual disabilities (the full survey will be published later this year).
During the panel discussion, the four politicians had the chance to comment on the survey and share their views on the issue.
Michael Dahlqvist, member of Parliament for Socialdemokraterna, talked about the importance of changing attitudes towards people with disabilities as well as showing the importance of the issue on a national level.
Solveig Zander, member of parliament for Centerpartiet, said:
– As a first step, I believe we have to give people with disability the opportunity to easily take part in sports and other activities.
– If money is needed, I will do my best to make sure that we can get it in some sort of budget.
Michael Anefur, members of Parliament for Kristdemokraterna:
– Sometimes we need to remember all the good things we have achieved during all these years. Then, of course, we shouldn’t be satisfied. But it’s not only bad in Sweden, is actually really good in a number of ways, he said.
– To make it even better, I believe we have to activate the civil society. We know that investing in the civil society doesn’t cost a lot in general. A small amount of money to the civil society gives a lot in return, he continued.
Åsa Llinares Norlin, chair for the Swedish Parasport federation, said:
– The civil society does a lot – but it’s not able to manage all that has to be done. Yes, we have come a long way, I for instance grew up on a institution. But if we have gotten the opportunity to get out from the institutions, we also need the opportunity to live our lives as everyone else. It doesn’t have to cost a lot of money, but we need to redistribute what we have and find other ways to use the financial means. We are more than happy to help and to come up with hands-on suggestion about what can be done.