Rwanda to open rehabilitation centre for people with disabilities

The rehabilitation centre for people with disabilities at Gahini in Eastern province. Kelly Rwamapera.

The National Council of Persons with Disabilities (NCPD) has announced a new rehabilitation centre for people with disabilities.

The Rwf1.5 billion centre, in Gahini in Kayonza District in Eastern Province, will be inaugurated on April 17, 2019.

The centre has one more year of funding with equipment which will also take Rwf1.5 billion.

According to Oswald Tuyizere, the Director General at NCPD, the centre was constructed in partnership with Gahini Diocese and Christian Blind Mission (CBM)

All kinds of disabilities will be addressed, including that caused by genocide or other bodily harm.

It has 46 rooms for inpatients as well as six VIP rooms.

According to statistics, there are 446,453 people with disabilities in the country, excluding children under five.

The government categorised people with disabilities into five groups and the most vulnerable are given help. But the leading challenge is the high prices for prosthetics which people with low incomes cannot afford.

The problem is expected to be solved by the production of prosthetic in the country instead of importing them, according to Tuyizere.

Currently, the cheapest prosthetic made at the centre is a foot trap for people with big feet which cost Rwf4000 and the most expensive goes as high as Rwf7 million.

Tuyizere said it depends on the quality of the prosthetic.

Limited access to information as another challenge

Tuyizere appealed to the public, especially TV stations to avail sign language interpreters so that the deaf can also be reached.

“So far some televising houses have sign language interpreters which is good but not enough because other programmes on televisions have important messages which the deaf would also need,” he said.

Bishop Alex Birindabagabo of Gahini Diocese said they are working to get more partners who can help subsidise prosthetics such that they can be affordable for everyone.

Today, every health centre in the country has at least a nurse trained in sign language who can receive a deaf person and interpret for them, according to Dominique Bizimana president of the National Union of Disability Organisations of Rwanda (NUDOR).