A full house of over 30 representatives from Armenian Ministries, health and social professionals, disability associations, civil society, and international partners attended the Stakeholders Workshop for the Armenian ICF Model, which took place in Yerevan on December 13, 2018.

SOCIEUX+ supports Armenia towards better inclusion of people with disabilities

Armenia has made a concrete commitment towards better inclusion of People with Disabilities in line with the ICF model (International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health). The SOCIEUX+ team of experts has concluded a Stakeholders consultation mission to Yerevan, to discuss introduce change management and communication of policy changes relating to disability assessment and eligibility rules.

Armenia is in the process of transforming the way in which disability is assessed. The objective is to shift from a medical to a bio-psychological model of disability assessment, based on the WHO International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF).

Over the past 3 years, Armenia’s Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (MSLA) through the joint project UNDP-UNICEF-WHO and in collaboration with the SOCIEUX+ facility has been working towards the implementation of the ICF model to assess the needs of People with Disabilities (PwDs), tailored towards the Armenian context.

The soon-to-be-launched reform will restructure policies and practices around the new person-centred model, through the establishment of ICF Disability Assessment Centres throughout the country. The ICF Disability Assessment Centre, or ‘ICF Home’ as it has been called, thus reflecting the shift of approach, will provide services for disability determination and needs assessment based on evaluating the individuals’ functional capacities and needs in relation to the context, rather than determining disability by focusing only on health conditions. The new structure aims to address the significant drawbacks of the current system, which is unable to trace holistically the needs of the PwDs, to fairly distribute disability benefits and to design the appropriate policies in order to support the disabled population.

The ICF reform brings change to the disability sector at large, addressing Ministry administrators, professional medical and rehabiltational bodies as well as the target population of people with disabilities and its representatives.

To ensure ownership of the new approach to disability assessment and eligibility rules and that it is a true reflection of the country’s needs, a Stakeholders consultation workshop was organised at the UNDP conference hall in Yerevan on December 13, 2018, gathering more than 30 stakeholder representatives from Armenian Ministries, health and social professionals, disability associations, international organisations, and the civil society.

Acting Deputy Minister of Labor and Social Affairs, Ms Zaruhi Batoyan, opened the sessions. “The needs of people with disabilities have not been assessed in Armenia so far’, said Acting Deputy Minister of Labour and Social Affairs, Ms Zaruhi Batoyan, who opened the sessions. “Our current system is still evaluating the health aspect of the person’s functionality, but not the fact that it impedes the inclusion of that person into society”.

Ms Batoyan went on to explain that the new ICF model, developed with the support of SOCIEUX+ Technical Assistance, will also assess the environmental barriers that prevent a person from living fully and independently, and suggest services needed for better inclusion of PwDs in everyday life.

SOCIEUX+ experts led the discussions, which focused on the new disability assessment model for Armenia, its structure and advantages, along with the required institutional settings and aspects of communication for change.

SOCIEUX+ 2017-38 Armenia