WINDHOEK, 30 MAY – Rehabilitation training will be the right approach to combating barriers faced by persons with disabilities, World Health Organisation (WHO) Programme Officer, Sirak Hailu recommended.
Hailu was speaking during the second day of the National Disability Stakeholders workshop in Windhoek on Wednesday, saying this would aid in easing challenges of disability and promote integration into mainstream activities.
The three-day workshop started Tuesday and is taking place under the theme ‘Understanding the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities: Strategies for effective disability mainstreaming in Namibia’.
Participants are discussing challenges people with disabilities face, such as accessing quality health services including nutrition, water and sanitation.
President of the Namibia Mental Health Association, Deon Baisako raised a concern on the shortage of medication in public services for people with disabilities.
“Sometimes medicines for people with disabilities run out in public health facilities, forcing us to go to private hospitals which most of us cannot afford,” said Baisako.
Hailu, who is also a medical doctor by profession, said people with disabilities are economically and socially disadvantaged and therefore cannot afford private health services.
“This is a practical discussion for every Namibian as everyone is one way or the other disabled. If you are not physically disabled then put yourself in their shoes,” he added.
Another challenge, that of people becoming permanently disabled due to inaccessible health services, especially in rural areas, was also discussed among different organisations of people with disabilities.
Hailu said people with disabilities are a key target group and there is a need to identify progressive strategies towards the removal of obstacles which negatively impact their lives.
“That is if we are to fully implement the Harambee Prosperity Plan principle of ‘no one should feel left out’,” he emphasised.
The workshop includes representatives from Government, the United Nations, civil society organisations, organisations of persons with disabilities, service providers and academia.