On the occasion of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, the Kokkalis Foundation organized, in collaboration with the University of Athens, The Professor Petros Kokkalis Hellenic Center for Neurosurgery Research, Evangelismos Hospital and Filekpaidevtiki Etaireia, an event dedicated to the improvement of the quality of life of persons with special needs.
Held on the evening of Thursday, 3 December 2009, at the main amphitheater of Filekpaidevtiki Etaireia (Arsakeio), the event aimed at involving interested communities - governmental, non-governmental and the private sector - to focus upon innovative measures toward implementing international norms and standards related to persons with disabilities. The event also showcased the contributions of medicine and of technology for the betterment of life opportunities for the disabled and celebrated the contributions to society by persons with disabilities.
With opening remarks by Greek Deputy-Minister of Health and Social Welfare Mrs. Fofi Gennimata, the event featured a lecture by the University of Athens neurosurgery professor Damianos Sakkas on the contribution of neurotechnology to the quality of life of the disabled, personal accounts by disabled persons whose lives have been changed by contemporary biomedical technology, and a lecture by Kokkalis Foundation Vice-President Mr Petros Kokkalis on the contribution to medical research of the Professor Petros Kokkalis Hellenic Center for Neurosurgery Research.
The event was well attended by an audience of government representatives, members of the Academy of Athens, representatives from academia and the wider medical community, citizens, relatives and friends of citizens with special needs, and the media.
The annual observance of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, established by the United Nations, aims to promote an understanding of disability issues and mobilize support for the dignity, rights and well-being of persons with disabilities. It also seeks to increase awareness of gains to be derived from the integration of persons with disabilities in every aspect of political, social, economic and cultural life.
The World Health Organization estimates that there are 600 million disabled people worldwide, about 10% of the world population. It is also estimated that about 80% of all disabled people worldwide live in developing countries.