The Development Communications Trust (DCT) has lobbied for the reconsideration of health policies so that they conform to international human rights standards and treaties and address the needs of people with disabilities.
DCT executive director Prince Mtelera made the call yesterday on the sidelines of a day-long meeting the organisation held with stakeholders in Lilongwe.
The meeting drew participants from the ministries of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare, Education and Health. The meeting was held under the theme Giving a Voice to People with Disability in Accessing Quality Health Service.
Mtelera said a research his organisation conducted in Balaka, Salima and Nkhotakota with support from Tilitonse Fund exposed serious gaps in the health sector, particularly in responding to the needs of persons with disabilities.
He said these challenges are not just about the physical access to buildings, but also access to services, information, care and support.
Said Mtelera: “One of the challenges that persons with disabilities face when accessing health services is lack of information. For example, our health sector does not have IEC [information, education and communication] material that is in Braille form to cater for persons with blindness.”
Ministry of Health chief economist Wathando Mughandira commended what DCT and other non-governmental organisations are doing to complement government efforts to address challenges that persons with disabilities face in the country. n