Private investors are still reluctant to invest in equipment for people with disabilities and the National Union of people with a disability is appealing to the government to offer incentives to attract private investment in the sector to facilitate its members.
According to the Executive Secretary of National Union of Disability Organisation in Rwanda Jean Damascene Nsengiyumva, there is only one shop in Remera that sells equipment for persons with disabilities across the country. He added that it only sells wheelchairs and white canes.
“Failure to provide persons with disabilities with special equipment leads to poverty,” said Mr Nsengiyumva, adding, “Laws and policies for people with disabilities are inclusive, but practical implementation is very low.”
“The equipment are also not covered by insurance firms so how can an unemployed disabled person buy a wheelchair when the cheapest costs around Rwf200,000. If we could get the government to offer incentives so that the equipment are covered by all health insurance covers in the country, it would be a big step,” said Mr. Nsengiyumva.
Non-enforcement of laws
Donatilla Kanimba the executive secretary of the Rwanda Union of the Blind raised concern about non-enforcement of laws that promote accessibility of special equipment by persons with disabilities.
For instance, the Ministry of Health says special equipment for people with disabilities should be covered by insurance firms, but no public or private hospital offer this.
It is 11 years since the Persons with Disabilities Act was passed and it requires the government to provide medical care, provide prosthesis and orthosis equipment.
Buildings and transport services are supposed to be made in such a way that disabled persons can access them.