Africa:Governments urged to ratify African disability protocol


Only eight countries in Africa have so far ratified the disability protocol-

Walkers movements creating road safety awareness/Caroline Kahonzi

Diani walkers’ movement, kwale walk movement and Mariakani walk movement  Monday embarked on an 11 kilometers walk  to sensitize the public on the importance of maintaining road safety under the sponsorship of the African Union of the blind organisation.

The walk that commenced at the Kombani rehabilitation center and ended at Ukunda showground, was officially launched by Kwale county governor Fatuma Achani.

Addressing journalists after the walk, Abraham Mateta, human rights and advocate officer in the African Union of the Blind organization, urged the Kenyan government to encourage other governments in Africa to ratify the African disability protocol.

“The disability protocol talks about the issues of accessibility and safety of environment such as the roads, we are happy that Kenya has ratified this African instrument and we keep on urging them to encourage and even tell their other counterparts about the importance of ratifying and domesticating the disability protocol, “Said Mr.Mateta.

Mr.Mateta noted only eight countries in Africa have so far ratified the disability protocol.

“The rate of ratification is disappointing it is very low although this is an African solution to African problem we currently have only eight countries that have embraced the disability instrument so we are calling upon disability movement to organise around popularizing the African disability protocol among patients with disabilities themselves and lobby to their governments to implement the protocol and also there is need to put the disability protocol on the agenda in the African union meetings, ” Added Mr.Mateta.

He also affirmed road safety to be important especially to people who are blind and visually impaired.

” If the roads are not safe ,if people do not recognise our mobility tools like the white cane it means we will not be safe ,”Claimed Mr.Mateta.

A member of Diani walkers Lydia Paul said apart from creating road safety awareness the walk initiative helps in networking and also acts as a natural medication.

The founder of the Kwale walk movement, Hamza Abdullah Musa, noted the increasing numbers of accidents due to poor road safety mechanisms.

“Our main mandate is to sensitise the community on road safety because we have witnessed many people losing their lives ,some get permanent disabilities in road accidents as a result of recklessness on roads ,there is a need to save a life each and every day , “Said Mr .Hamza.

Mariakani ward representative in Kilifi county Martha Koki emphasized the importance of maintaining road safety.

“Last week I lost four people in my area following road accidents, they boarded a bodaboda and the rider lost control and died on the spot, three were from same family, I felt so bad ,there is need to maintain road safety whether you are a driver, bodaboda rider, pedestrian or passenger ,prevention is better than cure let us be ambassadors of road safety and save lives, “Urged the MCA.

Diani walkers movement, Kwale walk movement and Mariakani walk movement do walks every Saturday to sensitize the community on the importance of improving their health through walking.

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