By Mawusie P.I Dumbuya
Head of Communication
Representatives of Disabled Persons Organizations (DPOS) have on Wednesday 2nd December, 2020 highlighted the successes made by the National Commission for Persons with Disability (NCPD) in the implementation of the Persons with Disability Act 2011.These revelations were expressed during the consultation on the development of a new strategic plan for the Commission in Kenema.
Welcoming participants from Kenema, Kailiahun and Kono Districts in the Eastern Region, NCPD Regional Cordinator East Micheal Gborie said the process is for PWDs to help identify challenges and map out activities that the Commission will undertake in the next five (5) years in line with the Persons with Disability Act 2011.Michael Gborie maintained that the Strategic Plan is exclusively for the betterment of the conditions of PWDs and as such, they need to take ownership of the entire process. Sylvanus Mondeh from Kono said even though there are incredible challenges, the Commission has effectively championed the implementation of section 14 of the NCPD Acts; which apparently stipulates the rights of disabled persons in educational institutions and we have recorded a tremendous increase in the numbers of persons with disabilities that have accessed educational institutions across the country.
He however called on the Commission to put more effort in ensuring that some of the challenges faced by PWDs in some of the Tertiary institutions are addressed; “it is altruism that the challenges are enormous but the enormousity of these challenges doesn’t in anyway make them insurmountable”
we hope the strategic plan will map out strategies for the Commission to improve collaboration with tertiary institutions” he observed.
Hanafie Sowa, Sierra Leone Union on Disability Cordinator in Kenema said the level of awareness on Disability issues have increased considerably compared to recent past.
He singled out the numerous radio jingles on various sections of the PWD Act, radio discussions program and other engagements as the catalyst of the NCPD’s success.
He advised the Consultant to put premium on awareness raising, advocacy and sensitization in the strategic plan as they will complement the gains made so far and contribute in making more in roads to educate PWDs on their rights as enshrined in the Act and raise the knowledge of the general public on the activities of the Commission.
He lauded the government of Sierra Leone to have included disability issues in its Mid Term Development Plan and urge the consultant to design the Commission’s Strategic Plan in accordance with the government mid term plan in order to enhance the adequate benefits of PWD’s.
Representatives of Polio Tegloma Agricultural Organization in Kailahun Tamba Salia said in the area of free medical as enshrined in section 17 of the PWD Act 2011; the NCPD had made great gain but however registered his dismay on the attitude of some medical professionals against PWDs.
He said NCPD must endeavor to build the capacity of medical practitioners on the provisions of the Act, “they must be schooled on the free medical and screening on children to diagnose early disability” he concluded.
He called on government to support the Commission with the necessary resources to promote disability issues in the country.
The Consultant stated that the process is not geared towards the review of inadequacies but however to develop a good strategy which will guide implementation of programs in the Commission.
The consultant revealed that it will create room for the Commission to build the capacity of other ministries on not only the Disability Act but also training on Disability related matters.
The team also met with stakeholders in Kenema to chat the way forward on disability issues.