Enabling the Disabled

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By Michael Liswaniso OPUWO The Ministry of Heath and Social Services has launched a five-day campaign on Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation to coincide with the International Day of Disability on Saturday. The five-day campaign held under the Disability Day theme “HIV/AIDS and Disability” was also launched in Kunene’s capital Opuwo. The campaign that ended on Friday last week was concluded at the Opuwo State Hospital’s conference room. The majority of attendants were people living with a disability. Keynote speaker at the closure of the weeklong campaign was Kunene’s Chief Medical Officer Ebong Okpabio said the campaign was launched to create awareness about disability issues and educate the community about disability and how to prevent disabilities where possible. He noted that most disabilities were congenital because of eating habits or even the living environment, especially during pregnancies, thus leading to numerous congenital disabilities. He reminded the audience to be on the lookout for relevant information that health practitioners and other relevant stakeholders could supply. Okpabio also reiterated the current ‘theme’ that has been voiced by many politicians and disability organisations that says “Disability is not Inability”, and thus people with disabilities should not be discriminated against. He also reminded people about the current polio scourge in most parts of the country where a total of 44 people tested positive and a total of seven succumbed to the disease. Polio leads to disability in some cases. Okpabio also took the opportunity to officially distribute 19 wheelchairs to disabled recipients who also received certificates. A total of 48 wheelchairs were donated to the Kunene Region. Eleven were given to Khorixas and the remaining 18 went to Outjo. The wheelchairs were donated by the Wheelchair Foundation of Germany. “Wheelchairs are very expensive these days. One wheelchair can cost more than N$ 3500 and, with transport included, like in our case here in Opuwo, it can escalate up to more than N$4000,” said the Chief Medical Officer. He urged the recipients to make good use of the wheelchair.