Within the context of the Inclusive Eye Health (IEH) and Disability Inclusive Humanitarian Action (DIHA) Projects the Technical Services Department (TSD) of the CBC Health Services have been designated to conduct accessibility audits in some 14 CBCHS health facilities involved in infection, prevention and control and Water, Sanitation and Hygiene services.
The one-day workshop took place at the Baptist Center on July 16, 2021 and was attended by 18 staff of the CBC Health Services TSD. Thus, the workshop equipped the staff with knowledge on accessibility audit as well as principles of universal design and disability inclusion that can enable them effectively carry out the audit exercise.
To get the TSD staff to understand the accessibility challenges faced by persons with disabilities, they went through a blindfolding simulation exercise, which challenged them in carrying out daily living activities such as walking and finding their way through to the toilet and other settings, and dishing food. Sharing their experiences after what they described as a very tedious and challenging exercise, the TSD staff took resolutions on strategies to henceforth make all their structures accessible to all, especially persons with disabilities.
The simulation exercise was facilitated by the Coordinator of the Coordinating Unit of the Associations of Persons with Disabilities (CUAPWD) in the North West Region, Chick Sama, a person with visual impairment. He also exposed the participants to knowledge on Disability Inclusion noting that the needs of persons with disabilities should be considered at all levels of the construction process.
During the workshop, one of the Facilitators, Mr. Kenchi Joseph, Supervisor of the Community Based Rehabilitation Services of the CBC Health Services told the participants that accessible structures are designed using universal design principles like equitable and flexible use, low physical effort, and enough size and space for approach and use. These principles, he stressed, should be used to ensure that structures, products and services are accessible to diverse groups of people.
Mr. Kenchi also disclosed that an accessibility audit is carried out to assess levels of access by persons with disabilities to physical environments, services, information and communication, and persons. It helps to identify obstacles to access and necessary adjustments to be carried out to ensure accessibility.
Guiding the participants on how to practically carry out the accessibility audit, Mr. Wango Julius, another facilitator told the participants that to effectively conduct an audit, they will need to use appropriate instruments and tools and identify disability barriers at all levels of the facility beginning from the entrance, reception, doors, toilets, policies, and services and make recommendations that will inform the adjustments to be made to ensure accessibility following international standards.
The CBC Health Services TSD Administrator, Mr. Nyuonguo Kenneth noted that, thanks to knowledge gained, henceforth they will ensure all future buildings constructed by the TSD within and out of the CBC Health Services will reflect universal design principles.
After the workshop, the TSD staff informed by the gaps that will be identified during the accessibility audit will use Universal Design Principles to remodel the 14 facilities to improve accessibility to all especially persons with disabilities who are one of the target group of the DIHA and IEH projects.
The DIHA project is funded by the German Federal Foreign Office through CBM while the IEH project is funded by CBM.