Tanzania: Disability Is Not Inability, Tanzanians Told

TANZANIANS have been urged to empower people with disabilities and respect their dignity to ensure full and equal participation of the group in all spheres of society.

"In most cases, people have been thinking that empowering people with disabilities is to provide them with money, but what these people need most is to be empowered, especially psychologically," said Maria Sarungi, the Director of Compass Communications during the commemoration of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD).

Themed "Empowering persons with disabilities and ensuring inclusiveness and equality", Ms Sarungi who was the guest of honour at the event said that persons with disabilities need to be supported so that they can become independent instead of giving them assistance which will not help to sustain their living.

She said that people with disabilities should not be handled with kid's gloves, but rather should be empowered to become independent.

"It is critical to ensure, in this regard, the full and equal participation of persons with disabilities in all spheres of society and create an enabling environment by, for and with persons with disabilities," she insisted.

Ms Sarungi further said that the International Day of Persons with Disabilities was meant for all people and not a certain group in the society.

She said the issue of people with disabilities should not be regarded as the concern of a certain group in the society because any person can get disability due to various life challenges such as accidents or Non- Communicable Diseases.

"It is high time the public starts regarding people with disabilities as part of the society and not poor people," Ms Sarungi insisted.

Peace Life for People with Disability Foundation Director, Ms Sophia Mbeyela said that any person with disability was capable of engaging in various social, economic and political spheres if they are determined to do so. She challenged people with disabilities to accept their situation and engage themselves in different activities that will enable them sustain their living.

The IDPD was observed recently at the MNH through the provision of free health screening services to people with disabilities organised in collaboration with Peace Life for People with Disability Foundation.

Speaking on behalf of MNH Executive Director, Lawrence Museru, Head of Department of Internal Medicine, Dr John Rwegasha said that his hospital has been the main stakeholder through provision of quality services to all Tanzanians, including people with disabilities.

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