Some disabled children in Malawi are failing to access education because they cannot use sanitation facilities in schools, says the Malawi Council for the Handicapped (Macoha).
The organisation has since bemoaned slow integration of equity in constructing sanitation facilities in schools.
Speaking in Salima during the tour of some Water Aid funded projects last week, Macoha district project coordinator Lemson Njala said some parents of disabled children end up providing slabs in schools to enable their children to access education.
â€œAttendance of children with disabilities has been very low, meaning they are not benefiting from the education system. Disabled children fail to use toilets in most schools because the doors are narrow and they cannot push through their wheelchairs to go inside.
â€œFor those who manage to go inside, squatting becomes unhygienic and hazardous to their health,â€ said Njala.
He said the district has about 3 000 people with disabilities.
Work for Rural Health officer George Nkhoma said they are working with Salima District Council to ensure the needs of the disabled are considered when constructing water and sanitation facilities in schools and villages.
â€œSome minorities in our communities have been excluded in the type of latrines and water facilities that have been constructed. However, from April this year, we started including issues of equity and inclusion in our programmes,â€ Nkhoma said.
He said they have since constructed disability friendly toilets at Njiza Primary School in the district.
Water Aid programme officer (advocacy) Lawrent Kumchenga said their programme is also empowering citizens to demand inclusion of needs of minorities in water and sanitation projects at district councils.