A MULTI-sectoral approach is the best way to address care of people with mental and physical disabilities.
This was the view of St Giles Hospital medical superintendent Dr Peni Biukoto when the case of 49-year-old Navakai resident Nur Nisha was brought to his attention yesterday.
"This person has other needs in addition to her health needs," Dr Biukoto said.
"A multi-sectoral approach with community and family involvement is the best approach to address the needs of this person."
Ms Nisha's plight was first highlighted by TVNZ's Barbara Dreaver in a documentary aimed at highlighting mental illness in the Pacific. Living in a tiny shed that serves as a bedroom, bathroom and toilet, the 49-year-old is in need of constant care from her family.
Dr Biukoto stressed people living with mental and physical disabilities needed a strong network of support, especially from family members.
"Community involvement is vitally important in the set up of appropriate housing and a support network."
He said family members also needed to accept responsibility for the care of others in the family who are disabled, whether by illness or injury.
"The community needs to get involved in providing support to their families with disabled persons, especially families lacking the resources to provide the needed support."
He said a needs assessment should also be conducted for Ms Nisha.
"The needs assessment will identify the best and practical strategies and appropriate agencies to address her needs."