Public premises in Lamu “not friendly” to the disabled

Lamu governor Issa Timamy's wife Mrs Hajra Timamy, giving a present to a child living with disability at a past function. PHOTO: COURTESY.

Lamu, KENYA: Persons living with disabilities in Lamu County want special amenities put in place in order to enable them comfortably access and use public premises.

They said the county government had ignored their presence and that as such many of the public premises in place cannot accommodate them in one way or the other.

They said most county offices have staircases and could therefore not be accessed by disabled people.

Speaking when they met in Lamu town on Wednesday,they said there was need for the county government to ensure that planners and contractors of public premises put into consideration the special needs of people living with disabilities in the county.

They said many of them are unable to access public offices in the county due to their physical conditions.

The chairperson of Lamu Persons with Disabilities in the county Hindu Abdalla said disabled persons have been having a tough time trying to climb up staircases in order to access county offices on Mokowe,Lamu,Hindi,Mpeketoni and Witu.

She said no single county office had made alternative pathways for persons with disabilities.

“We can’t climb stairs. No alternative pathways have been made for us. We have to pay able bodied people to carry us to various offices. It’s not just uncomfortable but unfair as well.,”said Hindu.

She said there was need for special communicators in public offices and especially hospitals to assist the deaf,blind and dumb.

She added that it is an especially tough task for such individuals to successfully express themselves to the medics and in many cases, doctors have had to make assumptions since they haven’t been trained to communicate with persons with special needs.

“We go to hospitals and the doctors just keep fumbling trying to establish what is wrong with us. When they fail to understand our problem, they assume something and offer medication basing on what they think you might have said. It’s not just risky but unprofessional. We need special communicators hired in public offices to help with this,” added Hindu.