The Federation of Disability Organisations in Malawi (Fedoma) has said despite the country making strides in addressing bottlenecks in disability interventions, there still are massive challenges especially in access to social amenities.
The organisation is concerned that, among others, in terms of health services, most workers are not conversant with different interventions like sign language such that it becomes difficult to understand patients with hearing impairments.
In an interview on Saturday in Lilongwe during an orientation workshop organised for some Fedoma members, the organisation’s Head of Programmes Symon Munde lamented that some healthcare workers still have negative attitudes towards persons with disabilities.
He added that people living with albinism also have problems accessing sun screen lotions with which to protect their skins from cancers.
“Epilepsy drugs are also not easily accessible especially in health centres and district hospitals. For those with visual impairments, there are problems in understanding their drug prescriptions because they are not readily available in Braille material,” complained Munde.
He further hit at councils for continuing approving construction of structures that are not disability-friendly within their jurisdictions.
One of the workshop’s participants, Munyaradzi Mutsinze, said the knowledge that was being imparted to them would allow them systematically demand their rights in their different localities and establishments.
She complained that people with disabilities are often excluded in social projects like the ‘Food for Work’ which are essentially aimed at improving the socio-economic standings, particularly of those in local communities.
“Another thing is that some people with disabilities are also not given [Farm Input Subsidy Programme – Fisp] coupons and they end up not having enough food, yet every Malawian has the right to food regardless of whether one has a disability or not,” said Mutsinze.
Particularly, the workshop was aimed at orienting Fedoma members on the Local Government system so that they should understand some major things happening within the USAID-funded project that goes through the National Democratic Institute (NDI).
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