Disability Bill ready—Jean Kalilani


By Watipaso Mzungu, Contributor:

Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare Minister, Jean Kalilani, has said all is set for the tabling of National Disability Bill when Parliament convenes on November 19 2018.

Kalilani made the remarks in Lilongwe Tuesday when she briefed journalists on 2018 Disability Month and activities which the government has lined up.


United Nations Development Programme financed the review of the old Disability Act to incorporate emerging issues, including establishment of a Disability Trust Fund to address challenges faced in accessing education, health and other services among people with disability.

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

“The legal pieces of instruments that were there before have been pulled together into the Disability Bill and would soon go to Cabinet. And after Cabinet, if possible, it could go to Parliament this November. If not, definitely, it would go during the next meeting of Parliament,” Kalilani said.


She said the draft bill has been updated to incorporate issues which were not in the previous legislation.

She also said the passing of the bill into law paves the way for the rolling out of the Disability Trust Fund.

“We need a lot of materials such as wheelchairs, clutches and Braille to support persons with disability, and even train people in sign language. So, this fund would be used to facilitate and buy services used to assist persons with disability,” Kalilani.

Responding to a question on concerns which persons with hearing impairments raise regarding the government’s failure to priorities sign language, the ministry’s director of disability programmes, Felix Sapala, assured that the draft legislation guarantees non-discrimination of all persons with disabilities.

Sapala said it could even be better if Ministry of Education, Science and Technology incorporated basic sign language lessons in its curriculum.

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