Campaigns and activities
For all categories above Slovenia (under Ministry of Health http://www.mz.gov.si/en/) enacted comprehensive rehabilitation of Blind and Partially Sighted (WHO definition) in 2008 Health Care and Health Insurance Act, article 23: http://www.pisrs.si/Pis.web/pregledPredpisa?id=ZAKO213).
Under Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities Act (http://www.pisrs.si/Pis.web/pregledPredpisa?id=ZAKO4342) people with visually impairments are entitled to certain aids which they need to overcome different types of barriers in their life. According to their classification of visual impairment, government provides co-financing of some technical aids. Blind and partially sighted persons are also entitled to limited medical aids from Health insurance.
Although the law is placed, services are still not implemented in full extend. Apart from Eye Clinic Ljubljana – National Centre of Comprehensive Rehabilitation of Blind and Partially Sighted, which is providing low vision services, Union of the Blind and Partially Sighted of Slovenia (UBPSS) together with nine regional associations is one of the few organizations in the country, which to some extent, provides certain services and programs for people who need comprehensive rehabilitation. The other organisations that provide rehabilitation are The University Rehabilitation Institute Soča (vocational rehabilitation) and Center IRIS (Early Intervention).
See answer 1.
Considering the law, everybody should receive comprehensive rehabilitation according to their needs.
After the law is placed, a program for comprehensive rehabilitation was prepared, which includes also peer support. But the whole program hasn’t been implemented yet.
Peer support is to some extent available at regional associations of Blind and Partially Sighted people.
Union of the Blind and Partially Sighted of Slovenia proposed article that placed rehabilitation in the law and was also involved in the preparation of the program.
As already explained, we believe that we are in the beginning stages of the implementation of this right in Slovenia. Therefore, not all services have been implemented yet.
According to the needs of users UPBSS together with regional associations provide programmes that includes activities in the field of accessible information, newspapers, library service and adapting books in accessible formats, as well as providing technical aids, network of guides, activities for improving health and quality of life, activities and camps for children, youth, their siblings and parents, blind and partially sighted parents, women, elderly, relatives, as well as sports, chess, cultural and other activities.
There are no eligibility criteria applied for rehabilitation services for blind and partially sighted people.
Apart from Eye Clinic Ljubljana - National Centre of Comprehensive Rehabilitation of Blind and Partially Sighted, which is providing low vision services, Union of the Blind and Partially Sighted of Slovenia (UBPSS) together with nine regional associations is one of the few organizations in the country, which to some extent, provides certain services and programs for people who need comprehensive rehabilitation. The other organisations that provide rehabilitation are The University Rehabilitation Institute Soča (vocational rehabilitation) and Center IRIS (Early Intervention).
Services provided by Eye Clinic are centralised, available only in the capital city of Ljubljana. However, next step is to provide services at the local level as well. UBPSS and all 9 regional association provide services at the national and local level.
All rehabilitation services are free of charge.
Rehabilitation services are free of charge but there is a waiting period for first appointment to enter the rehabilitation.
Union of the Blind and Partially Sighted of Slovenia together with regional associations are the only organisations that provide training on different technical aids (according to the needs of users and funding available). We inform users regularly and we try to raise awareness about trainings in order to reach other potential users.
We provide ICT training and other assistance according to the need of users.
Under Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities Act (http://www.pisrs.si/Pis.web/pregledPredpisa?id=ZAKO4342) people with visually impairments are entitled to certain aids which they need to overcome different types of barriers in their life. According to their classification of visual impairment, government determines price range of technical aids and provides 85% of supplement of technical aid from the list. There are many technical aids on this list, but some important are missed out. For instance, people with low vision are entitled only to handheld digital magnifier in amount of 450,00 €, but current government supplement is 85% of this amount. Other digital magnifiers are not on this or any other list and therefore due to high cost not affordable for many people with low vision.
Blind and partially sighted persons are also entitled to limited medical aids from Health insurance. On this list are braille type writer, braille display, handheld magnifiers (not digital, those with only one magnification), binoculars, telescopic glasses etc. Although, the equipment is provided, the problem remains because for instance you must choose between braille type writer or braille display. Those who are Blind are entitled to only one of these two aids and only once in their lifetime.
People with visual impairment can receive only aids and equipment which are on the list approved by government or National Health Insurance Institute. As explained above, not all necessary and important technical aids are available. Thus, the problem of affordability has been reported many times and is in our opinion significantly important barrier in the lives of people with visually impairment in Slovenia.
At the University of Ljubljana – Faculty of Education there is a program “Visually Impaired Education and the Pedagogy of Specific Learning Difficulties”. Visit http://www.pef.uni-lj.si/382.html for more information.
Everybody who is Blind or Partially Sighted according to the official national classification can register as member or become end-user of services.
In general, this is applied but in practice when it’s necessary we provide services to everybody who has sight loss and who needs our services.
UBPSS were fundamental part in negotiations and lobbying for Article 23 (Health Care and Health Insurance Act) which enact comprehensive rehabilitation for blind and partially sighted. Before article was adopted UBPSS and Eye Clinic Ljubljana prepared national strategy and programme for comprehensive rehabilitation of blind and partially sighted. Moreover, UBPSS was partner with Eye Clinic Ljubljana in pilot programme of comprehensive rehabilitation. In order to provide, improve and promote rehabilitation service national wide UBPSS in undertaking several awareness raising actions and lobbying.
We have no assigned person to work only on partial sight matters. All staff members must have knowledge and expertise on visual impairment.
To pursue implementation of rehabilitation services, UBPSS is striving to lobby and cooperate with important stakeholders and decision makers. We have established good cooperation with Eye Clinic Ljubljana, Ministry of Health, Center IRIS and The University Rehabilitation Institute Soča. With our services we are supplementing the lack of some rehabilitation services. Hopefully near in the future we will develop specific training for rehabilitation experts.
We inform people with visual impairments and experts via e-mail, on our website, on radio station and media presence where we promote services available to blind and partially sighted people. We also conduct awareness-raising workshops and attend various events providing information on different sight loss conditions and what support is available.
We are aware of Vision 2020 initiative, but currently we are not actively involved.
Yes. Good source of information for awareness-raising activities and lobbying. Also, this document is good source of essential needs and basic information of people with low vision for future projects and activities.
We would appreciate further support of EBU and WBU on lobbying and campaigning to improve comprehensive rehabilitation service for Blind and Partially Sighted people in our country. we would also appreciate further sharing of good practice, projects and information.
The situation has slightly improved. After rehabilitation services have been enacted, we have launched service also in practice. But on the other hand, the implementation is very slow and waiting period to enter the services is to long.
Many further actions are needed in our country. First and foremost, further lobbying and promoting of rehabilitation services and awareness-raising activities are required. Our wish is to make services available to everybody in their local community. Secondly, we need to campaign for medical and technical aids that are either not on the lists of rights or are on the other hand to expensive and not affordable for people with sight loss. Also, there is lack of low vision experts in our country thus our organisation will strive to improve and encourage decision makers to support education in this area.