Each month, the government provides personal health, life and accident insurance to 101 Special Olympics athletes who represent Jamaica at various levels, said Olivia Grange, Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sports.
She was speaking at the press launch of the Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools initiative held at the Office of the Commissioner of Police yesterday.
Grange said coverage includes visits to doctors and specialists, hospitalization and surgery as well as treatment in the fields of gynecology/urology, psychiatry, psychology, ophthalmology, dietetics , dental care, maternity and miscarriages.
Coverage is also provided for artificial limbs and prostheses, physiotherapy, orthodontics, speech therapy, foot treatment, chiropractor services, vaccinations, kidney dialysis and medical emergencies at the foreign.
The Minister said: “We are committed to the health and well-being of all our athletes and care for athletes of all levels, beginners or professionals.”
Special Olympics Jamaica also receives a monthly grant of $292,400 from the Sports Development Foundation, which also provided $1.5 million in support to the team that competed at the Special Olympics USA Games in June 2022.
“As Minister, I have always had deep love and pledged my unwavering support to Special Olympics Jamaica and that is why I was very happy when in 2021 I was informed that Jamaica had been selected as a pilot country for the Unified Champion School project,” she said.
“Special Olympics Unified Sports and now the Unified Champion Schools Initiative embody the idea of sport for all. It tells us that regardless of our perceived abilities or inabilities, playing together allows us to understand each other and form friendships.
“I also want to take this opportunity to applaud all the principals, parents and even the students of the 11 schools that participated in the Unified Champion Schools initiative: Alligator Pond Primary; Albion primary school; Bethabra Primary School; Corinaldi Primary School; Horizon Park Elementary School; McCaulay Elementary School; Pepper Elementary School; St. John’s Elementary School; Spanish Town Elementary School; Woodlawn School of Special Education and Windsor Special Unit.
Grange congratulated the Board and Trustees of Special Olympics Jamaica led by Aldrick ‘Ali’ McNab as well as Lorna Bell, former Director of Special Olympics Jamaica, who has now championed the cause of Special Olympics regionally as Director Executive of the Special Olympics Caribbean Initiative.
The Minister encouraged principals, students, coaches and parents involved in the program to use the lessons learned to spread the positive message of Unified Sports to communities at large.
“Let’s all challenge ourselves to be more inclusive,” she said.
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