Persons with disability (PWDs) have expressed worry over inaccessible labour beds in hospitals, saying they find challenges climbing the normal beds and sometimes end up with injuries.
Safia Nalule Juuko, the national PWDs woman Member of Parliament, said that giving birth in hospitals have turned into a nightmare for women with disabilities.
She said the midwives have also not made their condition any better, with many barking rudely at them, giving them the floor as an option if they cannot climb the labour beds.
“Imagine I am lame when in labour my legs do not have the energy to climb those beds. The worst part is that they are high with wheels. The moment you hold them, they roll with you. If unlucky you fall. How do you expect us to handle that?” wondered Juuko.
She was speaking at a meeting held at the office of the Prime Minister, between leaders of PWDs and the Prime Minister, Dr Ruhakana Rugunda. The PWDs were led by Alex Ndeezi, an MP representing them in Parliament.
Mpindi Bumali, the chairperson board of directors of the National Union of Disabled Persons of Uganda (NUDIPU) said that government needs to procure accessible labour beds to cater for women with disabilities.
However, Juuko said that government is already looking into this but quickly noted that it should fast track its promise to the PWD women and install the beds as soon as possible.
Alongside the beds, the PWDs also want the cost of a C-section reduced such that they can all access the services when required. Bumali said the high costs have scared away many of the women, most of whom are low-income earners.
The group also wants the government to revamp the non-functional orthopaedic workshops across the country with modern orthopaedic appliances such as callipers, saying the existing ones are no longer useful and are outdated.
“The existing orthopaedic workshops are non-functional due to lack of financial support yet they are the only centres that produce mobility appliances and support rehabilitation services for persons with disabilities in Uganda,” said Bumali
He noted that the only workshop at Mulago Hospital has no capacity to produce the necessary devices.
“It’s our prayer that the workshops across the country are made functional to enable persons with disabilities to live peacefully in Uganda,” he said.
They also want the government to give tax exemption on sunscreens for people with albinism and urged the government to attract investors who can locally manufacture the products in the country to avoid the costs of shipping them from overseas.
In response, Rugunda noted that in the case of non-functional orthopaedic workshops, the government is ready to manage them but on agreed terms, which he did not disclose.
“I am very disappointed that they (orthopaedic workshop) are closed. These workshops either can be managed by NUDIPU or if they cannot, the government can manage them on agreed terms,” he said.
He said that though the issues are many, he will fast-track them to ensure that they are fulfilled.