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Disability Act review at consultation stage

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Ministry of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare has said the review of 2012 Disability Act is at the consultation stage.

The ministry’s spokesperson Lucy Bandazi said the ministry is reviewing the Act with funding from Unite Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

Among other things, the new Act seeks to establish Malawi Council for Disability Affairs, to replace the Malawi Council for the Handicapped, which was established under the Handicapped Persons Act of 1971.

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The bill also provides for the establishment of a Disability Trust Fund to address the plight of people with albinism and challenges faced in accessing education, health and other services among people with disabilities.

Bandazi said her ministry is working with the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs and the Malawi Law Commission at every stage of the process.

“The two ministries are also working hand in hand with the Malawi Law Commission in leading a task force that is working on the review process. This, therefore, means that the draft bill will be sent to the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs,” she said.

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She said the ministry’s officials went to Kenya to draw lessons on how to establish the Disability Trust Fund and make it sustainable.

Bandazi further expressed hope that the bill would be presented in the august House by the end of the year.

“The ministry’s plan is to have the bill ready for presentation to Parliament before the end of 2017. If all goes according to plan, the ministry is earmarking the November sitting of Parliament,” she said.

President Peter Mutharika announced government’s plans to review the Disability Act when he hosted the executive committee of the Federation of People with Disability at Sanjika Palace in Blantyre on December 9 2016.

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