Disability Should Not Bar Access to Services


No citizens of any nation are on the same level in all aspects of life; be it mentally, physically, educationally or otherwise. But the most important thing is, they are all citizens and have a right to the national cake no matter what status one is.
Disability is not inability; what an able body can do, the other with some disability challenges can also do. However the problem of people with disability challenges today is, is not their disability challenges; but the attitude of members of the society towards those who have a disability challenge one way or the other.
From pre-independence to post independence years none of the Gambia governments was able to make public building disability friendly. Our public schools, hospitals, police stations and even court yards are all not disability user friendly.
Most of the buildings are storey buildings with no lifters which make it much difficult if not impossible for physically challenged persons to access services from such buildings. The same goes for those who are blind too. There are no aids that can help those who cannot total see or whose visibility is poor to easily climb those buildings.
Our courts systems do not have sign language interpreters to help our hard of hearing persons properly be communicated to and as a results justice is affected. And above all those people who suffer from such disability could know what transpires at courts even if they are not directly part of the cases tried in our courts. As citizens they have a right to know what is going on in the courts but such access is hampered.
Our hospitals and other medical facilities do not have a sign language interpreters to be able to communicate well with those persons with disability to hear and talk in order to have an efficient diagnoses of their ailments. The consequence of such a poor and wrong diagnose is wrong prescription which could lead to death.
In our education system too, which is one of the most important key sector is also without sign language interpreters. These is affecting over 92000 persons with some form of disability challenges.
In the absence of sign language interpreters in our school systems of all cadre, our persons with some form of disability cannot access education which is a basic rights for them like any other citizens.
The National broadcaster, which is the Gambia Radio and Television Services (GRTs) do not either have sign language and therefore barring our people who suffer some form of disability not knowing what is going on in the country.
The Daily News is therefore calling on the government of the day to quickly come up with a disability Bill Act; that should take care of all the above gaps.
If our citizens who suffer from one form of disability or another cannot access services just because government fails its responsibility that is unfortunate. The Disability Bill has been laying at the one of the government ministries without enacting it for more than ten years is really not expected of our government which is alive to the wellbeing of her citizens.


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