Government has warned that it will seal buildings that are not disability friendly, saying it is high time rights of people with disabilities started being respected.
Speaking on Thursday during the International Day of People with Disabilities celebrations in Mzuzu, Minister of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare Patricia Kaliati said her Ministry is concerned that most structures in the country are not easily accessed by people with disabilities.
Living up to her words, Kaliati ordered the First Merchant Bank(FMB) Mzuzu Branch to upgrade its structure to accommodate people with disabilities. She gave the bank one week to rectify the problem or risk being sealed.
Mzuzu City deputy mayor Frazer Chunga said Mzuzu City Council (MCC) will ensure that all its programmes incorporate disability issues. He said buildings in the city will also have to meet disability standards.
A number of structures, including government buildings, are not disability- friendly as they do not have ramps or elevators to enable people with disabilities easily access the buildings.
The status of the structures is contrary to this year disability commemorations which focuses on access and empowerment of people with disabilities, especially in cities.
Ministry of Transport and Public Works chief director of administration Dickson Chunga said government has put in place policies to promote the construction of buildings and transport facilities that are accessible by all.
Federation of Disability Organisations in Malawi (Fedoma) board chairperson Towera Masiku called on government to speed up the national mainstreaming strategy to enable issues of disabilities to be included in all programmes. n