Bulolo survey unearths vital stats

A recent study of people living with a disability in Morobe’s Bulolo district found that less than a quarter have access to the devices they need, such as wheelchairs, hearing aids and glasses, and many are unemployed.

The survey identified 859 people with disabilities living in Bulolo District. Of these, just 161 had attended primary school, 33 had gone to secondary school and six had undertaken tertiary education.

Morobe Family and Sexual Violence Action Committee Secretariat Coordinator, Thelma Hungito, who helped organise the study, said the findings showed challenges faced by people living with disabilities in Morobe, particularly in rural areas.

“The data shows that there is neglect of basic services for them. This group of people suffer from discrimination, inequality and poverty, and aren’t able to access basic health and education services,” Hungito stated.

“Those with intellectual and mobility issues live in their villages where they are heavily reliant on family support, and sometimes a few of these marginalised individuals are labelled as useless.”

Hungito said a particular concern was that special education services for people with disabilities in Morobe were not reaching the many living outside urban areas.

The scale of need uncovered by the survey may be used as evidence to help guide investment in disability services in Bulolo, including awareness activities and a possible multipurpose facility.

“People need to know that these people are living in the community with a disability and they have equal rights as us,” she said.

The Government’s National Policy on Disability 2015-25 calls for coordinated action to ensure equal rights of people with special needs and creating opportunities for them to fully participate economically and socially.

The social mapping study was supported by the Papua New Guinea-Australia Partnership.

Press release