KEETMANSHOOP: More than 40 physically challenged people in the Karas Region are in need of wheelchairs according to the Keetmanshoop State Hospital.
Medical Rehabilitation Worker at the hospital, Rauna Mwashekele told Nampa in an interview Friday that 30 of the individuals in need of wheelchairs are from the Keetmanshoop District, while 19 are from the Karasburg District.
Mwashekele said she is also aware of a need for wheelchairs in the Lüderitz District, but could not provide any specific figures as to how many are needed.
She said the Ministry of Health and Social Services supplies wheelchairs to those in need, but a lack of financing for the regional health directorate means not everyone can be helped simultaneously.
“Lack of wheelchairs is a problem for our disabled people here; the directorate cannot afford to buy enough for all of them at once. The wheelchairs are so expensive that we cannot even buy 10 in a year and have to buy maybe two every year,” Mwashekele stated.
She said help in the form of a donation came from the Lüderitz Lottery Club in March this year, when the club handed over wheelchairs to 39 physically challenged individuals from Keetmanshoop, Lüderitz, Bethanie and Karasburg.
“We sometimes just rely on donors for assistance, and we really hope more local business people come through to help this year,” she said.
The rehabilitation worker further noted that there might also be people living on farms around the region who are in need of wheelchairs.
Meanwhile, 23 physically challenged people from the Keetmanshoop District received assistance in the form of knee guards, stump socks and elbow crutches from the Health Ministry’s quarterly orthopedic outreach programme last week after their measurements were taken in May of this year.
In more good news for those faced with physical challenges, a ramp has been built at the charge office of the Keetmanshoop Police to allow easy access for those using wheelchairs to the building.
The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Gender and Family Affairs was in Keetmanshoop last month to solicit development ideas and listen to challenges faced by people with disabilities in the Karas and Hardap Regions.