|There was a meeting in Africa.
Many people working for people with disabilities and for governments
They talked about how to make sure
The first African Leaders Forum on Disability committed to take up the steps necessary to improve the access of people with disabilities to fundamental rights. The forum hosted by Joyce Banda, the President of Malawi, and Special Olympics on 10 February in Lilongwille, the capital of Malawi, established the African Leadership Alliance on Intellectual Disabilities with an aim to boost the rights of people with intellectual disabilities in African countries.
The newly formed Alliance will join its forces with the African Union’s Decade of Persons with Disabilities (2010 – 2019) to achieve together equality, full participation and empowerment of people with disabilities in Africa.
The leaders emphasised the importance of early intervention and inclusive education in the lives of children with disabilities as essential preconditions for improving the quality of lives of children with disabilities in Africa. The countries should support early diagnosis of impairment as it has proven to be useful for parents to provide them with knowledge and adequate assistance needed for a child with disability.
Ending up stigmatization of people with disabilities in Africa was also recalled as a priority for their agenda. “There is something about the plight that faces individuals with disabilities, including those with intellectual disabilities, that is compounded by an entrenched stigma that has endured, unjustly, for centuries and centuries. Before we can tackle the environment barriers that block our children from school, before we can address the lack of training of doctors that block our children from hospital, before we can strengthen the social policies that streamline family services, this stigma must become yesterday’s news,” stated the President of Malawi.
The forum recommends following steps for improving the access to rights for persons with disabilities:
- collect the evidence on types of disabilities and accessibility of services,
- set up measurable goals for policy advocacy and progress,
- allocate resources to improve the quality of lives of people with disabilities and their families, ensure cooperation amongst various stakeholders on enforcement of fundamental rights by people with intellectual disabilities,
- make sure that people with disabilities will be included in post-2015 development agenda of the United Nations.
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