Munir (right) at the 2013 Asia Pacific Games Healthy Athletes screening
Volunteer Mohd Munir Metassan is at the Special Olympics 2013 Asia Pacific Games with Special Olympics Brunei, as medical officer for the delegation. Munir is only a month into knowing the Movement – he volunteered for this role, when Special Olympics Brunei requested the Ministry of Health for a medical officer to travel with the delegation.
“Before I joined, I didn’t even know the difference between Special Olympics and Paralympics, so this is a huge learning curve and a wonderful experience for me so far. I’m still learning about social needs of people with intellectual disabilities. For a country like Brunei, we have free medication and medical care, but so many of them (the Brunei athletes) have problems, and we are only finding them out today, at Healthy Athletes. Today we found out some of our athletes not brushing their teeth well, some are having diet problems, and others have hearing problems related to intellectual disability, which could have been spotted earlier.”
When asked why people with intellectual disabilities are an underserved population in terms of health services, Munir believes “we are not reaching out to them. Parents, family members need to be educated to bring their children forward, they may not be even sure their children needs medical attention. We need to educate the public as well, on this group’s needs.”
Moving forward, Munir is eager to set up a health program, to benefit Special Olympics Brunei’s athletes and would like to offer it to all people with intellectual disabilities in the Bruneian community.
About Karyn Tan: Communications Manager for Asia Pacific Region