Ministry of Health assures support to wheelchair-bound people

Martin Endjala

The Ministry of Health and Social Service has advised those in need of wheelchairs not to apply for wheelchairs on the own, and rather consult with the ministry before they order the walking aid machine.
The chief occupational therapist in the Khomas Region, Kristen Muesse warned wheelchair bound people may end up paying more than they would have ordered it through the ministry.
Muesse made the remark yesterday when he was speaking at the Government’s Information Centre.
Wheelchairs, she said, are not on size fit all, he said, when he was talking on the subject of ‘awareness on wheelchair acquisition and usage.
She cautioned those who want to apply for wheelchairs not to apply without the assistance of the MOHSS occupational health therapists to avoid spending money on wheelchairs that are not a good fit for them.
She advises them to consult occupational therapists available at all health care facilities across the country.
“Wheelchairs prescription differs from person to person, depending on their nature of state.
Additionally measurements need to be undertaken in order to give patients the best wheelchair that best compliments their state’’ Muesse said.
Raising awareness about wheelchairs is because of growing concerns across the country, and because many physically challenged persons are living in dilapidated conditions due to a lack of awareness on how to use or maintain a wheelchair.
When buying a wheelchair there are a number of factors to consider such as the mobility of a patient mobility, whether the condition will improve and if the patient is able to seat in a full upright position.
Others questions that must be asked is where the people can afford state wheelchair and do they have the capacity on how to maintain the wheelchair.
The above are some of the requirements the MOHSS look when allocating a wheelchair. This was according to Charne Feris chief occupational therapist at the Windhoek central Hospital.
There are acquisition policies and agreements put in place for a person to acquire a wheelchair as stipulated in the Namibian National law of 1992-96 which gives the right to every disabled person to apply for a wheelchair.
Wheelchairs also come in different types especially for those that have spinal cord conditions.
Wheelchair bound Sarah Haimbodi shared her experience in using a wheelchair describing how difficult it was at first, saying the journey was tough to get where she is today.
When asked about how she deals with the stigma that comes with using a wheelchair, she said that she started using a wheelchair at a very young age, and that she valued herself and the love she gets from her family has enable her to shut the negative noise that comes from the society. “I have learned to love myself and gotten used to living among the society”, she sounded confidently.
Haimbodi urged other wheelchair users to join WhatsApp groups such as the wheelchair association to enable them to use it as their support system.
She received an electrical wheelchair from her employer UNAM which she uses for mobility purposes.
The medical rehabilitation worker at the Katutura Intermediate Hospital Dephine Kalomo alluded that not every person can fit into a wheelchair and encourages people to approach therapist at their nearest clinics or hospitals to be guided on how to go about procuring it.

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