Quarantine centres fail those with disabilities

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THE Government has not prioritised facilities for People Living With Disability (PLWD) in the quarantine centres during the coronavirus pandemic.

These include pathways for people on wheel chairs and rest rooms facilities for them to access.

Unlike most quarantine centres in Honiara, only the bottom floors are accessible to them but not the top floors because of no lifts and pathways.

A member of People With Disability Solomon Islands (PWDSI), Naomi Tai said the Government response to people like them is not a priority and inclusive despite a policy in place for them.

She said most infrastructures in Honiara are no disability accessible.

“If there is a covid-19 outbreak and some of them test positive, where will they be quarantine?

“This is something the government need to look at when selecting quarantine centres,” she said.

Special Secretary to Prime Minister, Dr Jimmy Rodgers told a public forum at National Museum and

Auditorium yesterday that the government prioritised people living with disability.

Dr Rodgers said the field hospital at Multipurpose hall caters for people living with disabilities.

About 163 people living with disability are living in Honiara.

Fifty are under the Solomon Islands Deaf Association, 33 under the Blind Association of Solomon

Islands and 80 in Physical Impairment.

A study carried out by Save the Children Fund (SCF) Australia and the Ministry of Health and Medical

Services in 1991-92 found that there were approximately 10,000 people with disabilities in the

Solomon Islands. 

However, the number should be increase now as the country’s population surpasses 700,000.

According to a review report, past and present governments have come up with policies to recognise

people living with disability in social, education and all sectors of the society.

The Government signed the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in September

2008; its optional protocol in September 2009.

The then National Coalition for Rural Advancement (NCRA) Government has reviewed the Solomon

Islands National Disability Policy 2005-20101.

This Policy is now known as the Solomon Islands National Policy on Disability Inclusive Development


However, Cabinet is still to endorse the policy to allow Ministry of Health and Medical Services to

allocate budget for disability programmes in the country.

Further to that, the Government has developed an Inclusive Education Policy to recognise people

with disability in the education system.

The Government has also presented its initial, second and third report to the Convention on the

Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) Committee in 2014.

The Family Protection Act was passed by Parliament in 2014, which recognises PLWD as well.

The current Democratic Coalition for Change Government (DCCG) came into power in December

2014 and has prioritised disability in its policy.

Consequently, the Government has not review and endorsement of Persons With Disability (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Bill 2006.