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Perspectives on a mobile application that maps assistive technology resources in Africa

VISAGIE, Surona
MATTER, Rebecca
KAYANGE, George
CHIWAULA, Mussa
HARNISS, Mark
KAHONDE, Callista
August 2019

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Background: Access to assistive technology (AT) is poor in African countries because of a lack of knowledge, resources, services and products. A mobile application, the AT-Info-Map, was developed to map AT availability in southern Africa.

 

Objectives: This article aimed to describe users’ and suppliers’ perceptions of the AT-Info-Map app.

 

Method: Qualitative data were collected in Zambia, Botswana, Malawi and Lesotho, through nine focus group discussions with 72 participants. Participants included AT users, AT suppliers and representatives of disability organisations. Data were thematically analysed.

 

Results: Two broad themes, that is, usefulness of the AT-Info-Map application and technical issues and content, emerged from the data analysis. Subthemes under usefulness focused on the importance of using current technology, convenience of the app, the need for accuracy, responsiveness of supplier to user’s needs, influence on AT market and how the app creates an opportunity for networking. Challenges to download and navigate the app, the need for training in its use, exclusion of those not literate in English and those with visual impairments were subthemes under technical issues and content.

 

Conclusion: The app was perceived as an important step to increase access to AT for persons with disabilities in less resourced settings. The challenges that emerged from the data analysis have led to the development of a web-based system that will complement or replace the app and improve AT information provision. However, the information provided by the app and website is still only a partial solution to improve AT access in Southern Africa.

 

 

African Journal of Disability, Vol 8, 2019

African Journal of Disability, Vol 8, 2019

2019

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This journal volume includes:

  • 33 research articles
  • 2 review articles
  • an opinion paper
  • a case study
  • two book reviews

Additionally there is a special collection of 3 papers concerned with the Role of Assistive Technology.

Access to curriculum for students with disabilities at higher education institutions: How does the National University of Lesotho fare?

MOSIA, Paseka A.
PHASHA, Nareadi
2017

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Background: Creating access to curricula at institutions of higher education for students with disabilities requires a concerted effort from management and other key stakeholders to identify students’ needs and create opportunities for success.
Objectives: This paper presents the findings of a study which examined students with disabilities’ access to curricula at a higher education institution in Lesotho.


Method: Data for this qualitative study were collected using three methods: in-depth interviews, focus group discussions and document analysis. Eleven students with various types of impairments and 15 academic and non-academic staff members currently working in close proximity to students with disabilities participated in this study.


Results: The findings reveal inconsistencies between the institution’s admission policy of non-discrimination according to disability status and its practices. These inconsistencies are discussed under the following themes: (1) access at admission level, (2) management of disability data, (3) support by the special education unit, (4) teaching strategies, (5) support by lecturers, (6) availability of assistive technology, (7) special concessions and (8) students’ coping mechanisms.


Conclusion: We recommend that a clear policy concerning the support of students with disabilities be developed with the following aims: guide decisions on how disability data should be used, define roles that different university departments must play in facilitating access to curricula for all students, influence suitable development of teaching and learning resources, stimulate research on success and completion rates of students with disabilities and mandate restructuring of programmes that are currently inaccessible to students with disabilities. Key stakeholders, including students with disabilities, disabled persons’ organisations, disability rights activists, and staff should be involved in such policy design.

Bridging the gap – your role in transporting children with disabilities to school in developing countries

ACCESS EXCHANGE INTERNATIONAL
AJUWON, Paul
January 2017

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This guide provides practical information for people who want to improve transportation for children with disabilities in developing countries. The guide will help parents and their children, teachers, heads of schools, and education officials to improve transport to and from school for children with disabilities. It will help transportation officials and transport providers, as well as agencies promoting sustainable development in developing countries. The guide addresses a variety of circumstances found in it's case studies, ranging from children with disabilities riding on school buses in large cities to children walking to school in some rural areas where roads do not even exist. Key findings and recommendations are presented from research carried out, case studies and interviews with school heads 

Beneath the rhetoric: Policy to reduce the mental health treatment gap in Africa

COOPER, Sara
2015

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In this paper I problematize knowledge on reducing the ‘gap’ in treatment produced by 14 national mental health policies in Africa. To contextualize this analysis, I begin with a historic-political account of the emergence of the notion of primary health care and its entanglement within decolonization forces of the 1960s. I unpack how and why this concept was subsequently atrophied, being stripped of its more revolutionary sentiments from the 1980s. Against this backdrop, I show how, although the 14 national mental health policies are saturated with the rhetoric of primary health care and associated concepts of community participation and ownership, in practice they tend to marginalize local meaning-systems and endorse a top-down framework heavily informed by colonial medicine. The policies thus end up reproducing many of the very Eurocentric assumptions that the original primary health care notion sought to transcend. More specifically, the paradigms of evidence-based research/practice and individualised human rights become the gatekeepers of knowledge. These two paradigms, which are deeply embedded within contemporary global mental health discourse, are legislating what are legitimate forms of knowing, and by extension, valid forms of care. I argue that a greater appreciation of the primary health care concept, in its earliest formulation, offers a potentially fruitful terrain of engagement for developing more contextually-embedded and epistemologically appropriate mental health policies in Africa. This in turn might help reduce the current ‘gap’ in mental health care treatment so many countries on the continent face.

 

Disability and the Global South (DGS), 2015, Vol. 2 No. 3

African disability rights yearbook

NGWENA, Charles
et al
2015

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This volume of the African Disability Rights Yearbook is divided into three sections presenting articles, country reports and commentaries on regional developments, and has added a new feature in the form of a book review section. The first section (A) of the journal presents a number of articles on issues affecting people with disabilities in Africa, ranging from sexual and reproductive rights to socio-economic issues. Section B presents a number of country reports on Eritrea, Lesotho, Morocco, Sierra Leone, Swaziland, Tunisia. Section C presents two articles focussing on regional development; one on disability rights and emergency legislation, and another on the right to political participation for people with disabilities in Africa. Finally the journal presents a review of A.S. Kanter’s 2014 book "The development of disability rights under international law: From charity to human rights"

Volume 3

HIV-related disability in HIV hyper-endemic countries : a scoping review

HANASS-HANCOCK, Jill
et al
September 2013

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This article presents the results of the first scoping review to examine the extent, nature and range of disability among people living with HIV in HIV hyper-endemic countries. The studies indicate that people living with HIV experience a variety of disabilities. Impairments in body structure/function comprise the majority of data, with particular focus on mental function. Data on activity limitations and participation restriction were limited, however, they were recorded. They indicate severe impact on people’s life and possible adherence. The review argues that the time has come to elevate the focus holistically on health and life-related consequences of living with HIV and to integrate disability into the discussions and approaches to HIV care

World Journal of Aids, Vol 3, No 3

Reading the National Disability and Rehabilitation Policy in the light of Foucault’s technologies of power

LESHOTA, Lekholokoe P
2013

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In the area of disability studies, models have been at the centre of debates, influencing social policies, practices and legal frameworks. The former Ministry of Health and Social Welfare in the Kingdom of Lesotho was not an exception. In its efforts to tackle issues of disability, it produced The National Disability and Rehabilitation Policy: Mainstreaming persons with disabilities into society in 2011. This policy document is rooted in the social model and seeks to address long-standing problems and challenges of people with disabilities in the Kingdom. Using ideas from Foucault, particularly the technologies and regimes of power, which work through language and practice, this article examined ways in which people with disabilities are constituted through state knowledge and government policies, and concluded that these constructions form the basis for alienation and marginalisation in society.

Alleviating the burden of responsibility : men as providers of community-based HIV/AIDS care and support in Lesotho

NEWMAN, Constance
September 2009

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This is an overview of a study of men as providers of HIV and AIDS care and support in Lesotho to help address the problems of occupational segregation with regards to human resources for health. Such inequality ..."impedes the development of robust health workforces. In the era of HIV/AIDS, this makes for inequities, inefficiencies and missed opportunities by creating barriers to health workforce entry and limiting the possible pool of formal and nonformal health workers. In Lesotho, as in many other countries, the HIV and AIDS care burden falls on the shoulders of women and girls in unpaid, invisible household and community work. This gender inequity in [human resources for health] needs to be addressed to ensure fair and sustainable responses to the need for home- and community-based HIV/AIDS care and support"

Evaluation of support to CBR programme in Lesotho

MENDIS, Padmani
KACHINGWE, Andrew
KHABELE, Mabele Irene
July 2009

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This evaluation report of a CBR programme in Lesotho "looked particularly at relevance, efficiency and coherence rather than at impact, looking firstly at management and implementation and the role of disabled people and their organizations. Two other areas - education and gender -were looked at for their relevance. A fifth area that emerged during the evaluation as being in urgent need of support is livelihoods. At the grass-roots, implementation by village volunteers (LSs) has brought results for many disabled people"

Community-based worker systems : guidelines for practitioners

MBULLU, Patrick
et al
September 2007

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These guidelines aim to assist practitioners and implementing partners to run Community Based Worker systems (CBW) more effectively, maximising impacts to clients of the service, empowering communities, empowering the CBWs themselves, and assisting governments to ensure that services are provided at scale to enhance livelihoods

Violence free zone : end school-related violence, prevent HIV/AIDS

SALTER, Nick
SCHECHTMAN, Lisa
September 2007

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The objective of this call to action is to review the extent to which national education plans, the Fast Track Initiative, donor countries, and established international NGOs recognise and comprehensively combat school-related violence (SRV) in a review of 10 African countries. The brief contains five main sections and two Appendices. It outlines the details and consequences of school-related violence; and the major findings and broader trends from the country review process; it focuses on a discussion of models and programs employed to effectively counter SRV and highlights overall best practices; it reviews and critiques donor governments and international agencies in relation to their work on SRV; and it outlines the recommendations and call to action for going to scale with programmes to counter SRV

Realising rights for children : good practice. Eastern and Southern Africa

AFRICAN CHILD POLICY FORUM
2007

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"This report looks at different practices across six countries in East and Southern Africa. The countries represent different legal systems, including one country undergoing post-conflict reconstruction, and highlight good practices, their impacts, key actors and lessons learnt. It aims to offer models for comparison and possible replication to other countries in the region and beyond." Issues include: child law reform; making primary education compulsory and freely available to all; promoting adoption and alternative care; the need for separate courts for children; diversion from the criminal justice system; and the judicial role in the implementation of children's rights. However, while it examines some examples of good practice in the region, it is not intended as a comprehensive or exhaustive review of practices in the region. The report is designed for use by governments, non-governmental organisations and other interested actors in the field of children’s rights to help inform implementation of the CRC in their own countries"

Social protection : how important are the national plans of action for orphans and vulnerable children?

SABATES-WHEELER, Rachel
PELHAM, Lissa
October 2006

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This is a review of 14 national plans of action (NPA), or in the absence of a NPA, outputs from the rapid assessment analysis and action planning (RAAAP) work for orphans and children made vulnerable by HIV/AIDS. It analyses the way that issues of social protection are incorporated into these plans and highlights areas within the plans where social protection activity may be needed to achieve stated outcomes. There are also country by country summaries of the social protection content of each NPA

Civil society involvement in rapid assessment, analysis and action planning (RAAAP) for orphans and vulnerable children : an independent review

GOSLING, Louisa
July 2005

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This review explores civil society organisations' experiences of the Rapid Assessement, Analysis and Action Planning (RAAAP) process - an initiative launched by USAID, UNICEF, UNAIDS, and the World Food Program - for orphans and other vulnerable children in November 2003. It comprises of a review of where civil society organisations were involved and where they were not and an overview of the process of their invovlement. It also offers recommendations for existing and future RAAAPs to ensure greater invovlement of civil society organisations, and includes individual reports on the 16 sub-Saharan African countries invovled in the first round of RAAAP in 2004

Building bridges with SIPAA : lessons from an African response to HIV and AIDS

DUNN, Alison
HEALTHLINK WORLDWIDE
2005

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This document examines the key lessons from the Support to the International Partnership against AIDS in Africa (SIPAA) programme implemented between 2001 and 2005 in nine African countries. The programme's main focus was on African leadership and ownership, involvement and participation of people living with or affected by HIV and AIDS and mobilisation of national and regional partners. Lessons learned include: meaningful involvement of people living with HIV and AIDS; supporting associations according to potential rather than proven track record; networks support; support for local leaders; making connections through National AIDS Councils; building strong partnerships; sharing information and knowledge across Africa; making the most of African skills and resources

Making cash count : lessons from cash transfer schemes in east and southern Africa for supporting the most vulnerable children and households

DEVEREUX, Stephen
et al
2005

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This is the report of a study comparing unconditional cash transfers to vulnerable groups in 15 countries in east and southern Africa, with in-depth analysis of four counties - Ethiopia, Lesotho, Mozambique and Zambia. Because cash transfers are new to this region, the aim is to draw lessons for policy from a comparative review. The report finds that knowledge gaps impede the development of meaningful policy. This work would be useful for anyone with an interest in vulnerable groups, development and the socio-economic factors

Turning a crisis into an opportunity : strategies for scaling up the national response to the HIV/AIDS pandemic in Lesotho

KIMARYO, Scholastica Sylvan
et al
2004

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This book serves as a reference manual for the consultative process undertaken by UNDP in Lesotho on scaling up the national response to HIV and AIDS. It includes key recommendations and strategies on how to create an HIV and AIDS competent society for all levels of leadership including the individual; what national mechanisms and strategies should be used to support longer and healthier lives for the people, from government, to traditional leaders, the Church, businesses, and people living with HIV and AIDS; the establishment of a National AIDS Commission to lead the scaled up national efforts; and strategies for the core-streaming of HIV and AIDS into all government programmes and budgets. The book has been adopted as an official policy document for the Government of Lesotho, guiding its efforts to transform its response to capacity utilisation, institutional and personal accountability, and the creation of an HIV and AIDS competent society

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