By Saikou Suwareh Jabai
The Executive Director of the Gambia Federation for the Disabled (GFD), Mr. Ebrima Dibbasey, has appealed to the government to fully enact the Disability Bill and adopt the disability policy. This, he said, will be a milestone for the protection and development of disable persons in The Gambia.
“As a disable community, we are really advocating for this because once the bill is enacted, a lot of issues are going to be based on the law,” he added.
He noted that in the proposed bill, there are important provisions such as the establishment of a national disable council which will look into and address all issues regarding disabilities in the country.
While commending the government for signing the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), he enjoined the state to further help the disable community by adopting the policy and the bill. “There are lot of improvements that need to be done and this is where funds and other resources should be allocated,” he added.
The GFD Executive Director said addressing disability issues is expensive and thus needs concerted efforts. He said the annual budget allocated to the Department of Social Welfare for persons with disabilities is very minimal and thus needs significant increment in order to adequately address the funding gaps. He therefore called on the government, parastatals and NGOs to help persons with disabilities as disability is a human right and not a health related problem.
Mr. Dibbasey lamented the discrimination against people with disabilities and urged parents to send their disabled children to school and desist from side lining them because of their physical condition.
In July 2016, a two day sensitisation forum was organised by the federation to popularise the bill and policy and also find out what needs to be done to enhance the enforcement of these two documents.