BY VENERANDA LANGA
PEOPLE with disabilities have demanded that the 2021 national budget must be disability friendly and cater for free cancer screening and lotions for people with albinism as many of them were dying from skin cancer.
This was said on Monday during a Zimbabwe Council of Churches (ZCC) faith leaders’ breakfast meeting with the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Budget and Finance.
Brenda Mudzimu, the founder of Miss Albinism Trust said: “Most PWDs with albinism are dying of skin cancer because they cannot afford lotions.
“If people are tested for free for HIV/Aids, then it means people with albinism can be screened for skin cancer for free. We also need to issue them with free medicines for hypertension and other diseases.”
ZCC gender and inclusion programmes officer Tariro Senderayi said in their consultations with PWDs, the church found that there was need to minimise their vulnerabilities.
“With regards to budgetary allocations, it seems that other sectors such as security and the youth are clearly allocated a budget, but there is no specific budgetary allocation for PWDs. A quota for PWDs should be mandatory,” Senderayi said.
She said there was need to enhance the livelihoods for PWDs in their diversity through loans, social welfare grants, and that the 2021 national budget must allocate funds towards operationalisation of the Disability Act and domestication of the Convention on the Rights of PWDs.
Bruce Nyoni, a representative of the Albino Trust Zimbabwe said there was need to decentralise the health sector and set up mobile clinics in the rural areas so that no one is left behind, especially for PWDs who face mobility challenges.
“We recommend additional funds to revive the collapsing pharmaceutical industry whereby medicines are acquired from abroad and Zimbabwe should not continue to be a dumping ground for medicines. There is a need to invest in our infrastructure because our school infrastructure is not disability friendly, for example, there are no ramps. PWDs need special education, and special education teachers are scarce because there are no incentives,” Nyoni said.
He said there must be additional funds in the 2021 national budget allocated towards legal reforms to accommodate PWDs so that they are able to purchase their assistive devices such as wheelchairs, sunscreen lotions, braille material, hearing devices, among others.
Lillian Gwanyanya of the National Council of PWDs said issues of PWDs must be streamlined in all budgetary processes, adding that any decision on PWDs must be made with their input.
Follow Veneranda on Twitter @LangaVeneranda