#National News

Plight of disabilities, mentally imbalanced: Gambia's forgotten category amid Covid-19

Feb 12, 2021, 10:56 AM | Article By: Sheriff Saidykhan

Amid the outbreak of the Novel coronavirus in the country, many people are compelled to stay at home for their safety, but the vulnerable physically challenged and mentally imbalanced persons are left in marginalised situations in the street corners.

This reporter was out and about to look into the plight of persons with disabilities at Kaddy's Foundation for Differently Able in Brikama, West Coast Region.

The rights activist and founder of Kaddy's Foundation for Differently Abled, Kaddy Jadama, said many persons living with disabilities are reeling with mental disorders and totally left abandoned without proper care by their families, and even the society.

She indicated that the disability issue is one of the main problems facing the country.

“Society needs to view disability issue with realistic lenses, and increase its tentacles in order to tackle the marginalisation trend of persons living with disability. Many disable people are living under vulnerable conditions in the streets without decent living. We help the mentally imbalanced who are abandoned by their families or the ones without family. We also pick them in the streets and take them to Tanka Tanka because every human needs a home and a right to life and good living." she posited.

Jadama recounted her encounter with a homeless, mentally imbalanced disabled person eating rotten food in the street, describing that deplorable condition as intolerable.

This, among other issues forced her to render humanitarian support. "I was coming from the village, and I saw the man eating from the dustbin. Every day, he slept in the Brikama car park. I was able to get him to the mentally imbalanced hysterical hospital where he is currently living now." she said.

The welfare of disabled homeless persons, she said, has for the past decades, been ignored and abandoned by the society and the authorities.

She thus argued that the question on plight of persons with disability and mentally challenged persons still remains unanswered.

“I observed that, person living with disabilities contribute significantly to the socio-economic drive of the country. I therefore challenged the government and relevant stakeholders to corporate their responsibility, imbued with collective action from society geared towards addressing the plight of mentally imbalanced, and persons living with disability in the country. Mental health deserves attention from the government, and society to collectively make it a priority." she said.

The government through the National Assembly, she said, should approve the disability bill into Act, to ensure the prevalence of their safety conditions.

"The government has a bigger role to play to alleviate the lives of people living with disability. The government should concentrate on the Differently Abled bill and approve it. The government should make health a right and not a privilege. Because every human being deserves a decent living" she concluded.