DHAT proposes establishment of ministry for disabilities

The Disability and HIV/AIDS Trust, DHAT, says government should consider establishing a stand-alone ministry that will be responsible for the welfare of people with disabilities.

The recommendation comes following a survey DHAT conducted in 2021 regarding health policy and budget analysis for disability inclusion.

Among its findings the survey found that persons with disabilities face numerous challenges in accessing basic sevices including health care services.

The survey established that these challenges are fuelled by inaccessible physical structure, lack of sign language interpreters, lack of health information in braille and also negative attitude by health workers towards people with disabilities just to mention a few.

According to DHAT executive board chairperson, David Njaidi the country has a high number of people with disabilities but as things stand now they are treated as a minority group yet they make up about 10.4percent of the country’s population based on 2018 housing and population census by National Statistical Office, NSO.

David Njaidi: The country has a high number of people with disabilities. 

“We feel that having a special ministry that will be focusing on the welfare of people with disabilities will improve the our welfare in the country as currently the ministry of gender, children and social welfare is overloaded with responsibilities which somehow leads to split and unbalanced priorities,” said Njaidi.

Njaidi said through the study they discovered that despite having different policies regarding people with disabilities there are still gaps that need to be rectified.

The survey also recommends that for health workers to have positive attitude towards people with disabilities, regulatory bodies like medical council of Malawi should be inclusive in their planning and service delivery so that persons with disabilities have their health rights granted.

“On issues of budgetary gaps as DHAT we suggest that all responsible ministries should collaborate to have a strong budgetary support on disability programs in the health sector,” added Njaidi.

According to 2018 population and housing census report the country has 1,566,670 persons with disabilities aged 5 years and older which represents 10.4 percent.

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