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People With Disabilities Have Their Say

People With Disabilities Have Their Say

People with disabilities are invited to tell Tairawhiti District Health (TDH) what they need to be fully supported within the community, during a workshop being held next week.

TDH Maori Health Manager Maaka Tibble, who has been blind for 30 years, said the workshop gave disabled members of the community an opportunity to raise important issues.

“As a group disabled people are likely to have lower incomes and fewer financial and family resources than the general population.”

“Disabled people, especially those with psychiatric or intellectual impairments are often shut out of social networks and full participation in community activities because people are ignorant or fearful of behaviour they perceive as different.”

Mr Tibble said the workshop was about talking through some of the issues facing local disabled people and what Tairawhiti District Health can do to ensure the rights of disabled people are met.

Mr Tibble said TDH was already committed to encouraging a non-disabling society.

“Two years ago the organisation commissioned an audit by CCS looking at accessibility to hospital buildings and the services inside. As a result, improvements were made to some of the hospital’s physical areas such as the lowering of counters in main reception areas, easy to open doors, disabled parking and accessible public toilets.

“We wanted to ensure disabled people are able to access health services.”

But Mr Tibble said changing New Zealand from a disabling society into an inclusive society required more than just physical changes.

“The desire to break down the barriers that cause disability is also closely linked to ideas about the human rights of people with impairments. Without human rights we cannot live as full human beings. Human rights include political, civil, social, cultural and economic rights.”

“I invite everyone interested in this area to come along to the workshop.”

The consultation workshop will be on Saturday 19 March 2005 in St Andrews Church Hall from 10am.


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