Federation for Disability Organisations in Malawi (Fedoma) has appealed to government to take measures that should ensure that people with various disabilities are having easy access to health services.
Project Coordinator for Fedoma, Naomie Msungeni, noted Wednesday that people with disabilities are being denied access to quality health services due to lack of adequate proper infrastructure and other support services in health facilities.
Speaking to District Executive Committee (DEC) members for Dedza, she said Fedoma intends to roll out a three-year project in the district to lobby for various initiatives including introduction of sign language interpreters in all public health facilities to support people with hearing difficulties.
“People with hearing impairments are having little access to vital health information whenever they visit health facilities due to lack of sign language interpretation. Generally the situation in most health facilities is not friendly to persons with disabilities in terms of inaccessibility to infrastructure and unavailability of necessary drugs such as lotions for people with albinism,” Msungeni said.
She said the project will also advocate for easy access to other essential services such as education as well as water and sanitation.
The coordinator added that in terms of education, most children with disabilities are not going to school due to a number of reasons such as lack of special needs teachers, long distances to schools and inadequate teaching and learning materials.
According to her, inadequate access to water and sanitation services is also putting the health of persons with disabilities at risk.
She however noted that that through the project, Fedoma will build capacity of persons with disabilities to properly advocate for better social services.
Monitoring and Evaluation Officer for Dedza District Council, Emmanuel Sohaya, assured Fedoma that the council will strive to improve in its provision of services to persons with disabilities.
The project is also expected to be implemented in Mwanza, Phalombe, Dowa, Nkhata Bay and Rumphi districts with financial support from a German Christian organization called Bread for the World – Protest and Development Services.