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Government donates assistive devices to persons with disabilities


Story by ZBC Reporter

Last week, the Department of Disability Affairs in the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare was in Gokwe South District in Midlands Province, conducting a 5-day assessment on persons with disabilities in order to get them the correct assistive devices tailor-made for the rural terrain and their different needs.

According to safety standards for persons with disabilities, a person with a disability has to undergo an assessment first before getting an assistive device to make sure that the device makes life easier without causing more harm or aggravating their disability.

“When I get the wheelchair, it will even help me to get married as many girls will start viewing me differently,” says Gift Muremba (not his real name).

“I might even be able to go and herd cattle with my peers, something I have always desired to do,” says Gift, who at 18 has missed out on many of the childhood delights many often take for granted.

The current programme that the government has embarked on to enable persons with disabilities to live a more independent life with the aid of assistive devices has brought hope to many like Gift. Not only has the programme touched the lives of the youth, but it has also touched the lives of many elderly as witnessed in Manyoni Ward 18, Gokwe Sengwa Constituency.

Miriam Mhopo (not her real name) suffered a stroke 7 months ago and has been struggling to live her life without assistance.

“My children now help me with the most basic movement I want to do ever since the stroke,” says Miriam with a slur in her speech, which came as a result of the stroke.

“It is frustrating that one of my children has to be around all the time to help me get water to drink and take me to the bathroom and I miss visiting my fields even though they are just close to my house.”

Tineyi Mutsena, a technician at the Ruwa Rehabilitation Centre under the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social said, “Gogo doesn’t have to struggle anymore. Our assessments show that she requires a comody wheelchair. This specialised wheelchair will enable her to move around effortlessly. Furthermore, it can be adjusted so she can take a bath and then it can further be adjusted into a toilet, which means they won’t have to incur the extra cost of renovating their pit latrine toilet for her comfort.”

Gokwe South District is the third to benefit from the Free Assistive Devices Programme that was launched last year by the Ministry of Public Service Labour and Social Welfare last year in Buhera.

“This year, we plan to have the programme benefit 4 more districts with Gokwe South being the first, then we will be carrying out assessments in Zaka, Rushinga and Binga very soon,” says Mr Shumbayi Nyeperai, the Deputy Director Disability Affairs, in the ministry.

“Apart from assistive devices, we are also targeting and assessing landmine victims across the nation. If there are any landmine victims across the nation, they can go to their nearest Social Welfare offices and get help.”