The Lions Eye Clinic of Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital has assured Organizations of persons with Disabilities OPDs that the facility will be soon accessible to persons with disabilities as its management is working day in-day out to address disability issues.
The revelation comes when the Federation of Disability Organizations in Malawi FEDOMA presented a report of its finding after it conducted an access audit at the facility in 2019 and the report shows that the facility is rated 42 % in as far as accessibility of its infrastructure is concerned.
Speaking during the report presentation, Hermes Tebulo who presented the report on behalf of all OPDs which took part in the access audit exercise, said the Lions Eye Clinic has failed to embrace accessibility siting a good example of its toilets which are not disability user friendly among other examples. He however quick to say that all is not bad as it can work on the positives to ensure accessibility is achieved fully.
“During the Access audit, we went further to inspect the toilets of the facility (Lions Eye Clinic) but we can reveal that the toilets there are not accessible and this is a threat to persons with disabilities. However, the facility has its interior doors with enough opening space which commended and we therefore ask them to do their homework on the remaining areas so that the clinic should be accessible,” said Tebulo.
Reacting to this, Chinsisi Nyirenda, the Eye Specialist at Lions Eye Clinic, assured representatives of Organizations of Persons with Disabilities that the facility’s management has secured K14 Million to start doing their homework of making the facility accessible.
“We acknowledge that we are very far in as far as accessibility is concerned but we would like to assure you that some of the areas mentioned in the report just presented here, will be done as soon as possible as we are working on them but still, we seek your guidance to avoid the wrong doing,’ she said.
In order to achieve accessibility at the facility, FEDOMA and Lions Eye Clinic have developed an inclusion Protocol which will see both institutions cementing strong and good working relationship and mutual understanding between them.
Among the points in the inclusion protocol, both sides have agreed that the Lions Eye Clinic should identify focal person(s) among its members of staff and the person(s) will be addressing disability issues on behalf of the entire Clinic.
Speaking when closing the workshop, Dryford Mpunga from Malawi Council for the Handicapped MACOHA who represented the Director of Disability Affairs in the Ministry of Disability, said he is impressed seeing the good relationship that has been made between FEDOMA and the Lions Eye Clinic to develop the inclusion Protocol for the betterment of ordinary persons with disabilities.
“It is quit impressing to see this cooperation and I believe this will continue even if the project comes to an end next year and it is our hope that persons with disabilities will enjoy the fruits from this relationship, said Mpunga.
FEDOMA is conducting an Inclusive Eye Health Project with the funding from the SFDO of Ukaid Mach UKAM through Sightsavers Malawi.