Disabled Sidelined in Campaigns


By Petronella Sibeene


People with Disabilities in Namibia complain that HIV/AIDS campaigns in the country completely ignore them and exclusively target able-bodied people.

The problem can possibly be attributed to a general misconception that people with disabilities are not sexually active.

The National Federation of People with Disabilities in Namibia (NFPDN), a body representing people living with disabilities in Namibia is not satisfied with the HIV/Aids information currently made available to the disabled.

The organisation yesterday pointed out that various materials used in HIV/AIDS campaigns are not selected with the aim of reaching and educating all Namibians about the disease.

“Whilst the HIV/Aids pandemic poses a serious threat to Namibians, the response to it continues to exclude people with disabilities,” said NFPDN Chairman Martin Tjivera.

To illustrate his point, Tjivera referred to the expiry dates on condom packages, which he said a visually impaired person would not be able to read.

In the same way, a deaf person will not hear the messages on radio.

Messages broadcast on television can also not reach all people, considering that people in rural Namibia usually only have access to radio for information on matters of national interest. The organisation called on government and other stakeholders in the fight against the disease to review the campaigns, in order to adapt information and campaign material to the needs of the disabled.

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