My visit to Uncle John
Greetings to National construction authority!
Author Mugambi Paul
Author Mugambi Paul
What are your first thoughts when you hear “public toilet”? Dirty, smelly might be some of the words that come to mind. However, inaccessibility is a feature that we are less likely to think of. For people living with disability, this might be the only feature without which they cannot access something as basic as a public toilet.
My escapades in the city puts this issue in to perspective.
Think about this: how often do we come across people with disabilities in public spheres? People with disabilities – nearly 15 % of the Kenyan population – are one of the most marginalized groups.
Most toilets within the confines of the county governments are run by business people, lucky in most towns in Kenya this is one of the free services for persons with disabilities
Are they accessible?
Unfortunately, the lack of accessible infrastructure limits mobility of persons with disabilities and excludes them for participating fully.
I opine Our Kenyan public infrastructures and transport are not designed with this population in mind. When a person on crutch, white cane or on wheelchair doesn’t have plan B you will have to postponed uncle John’s business.it is evidently clear Starting from our schools to buses and footbridges, people with disabilities have rarely been included in the design.
The most unfortunate concern is that Kenya roads authority and its crew members are still on road construction. Am not even sure if the new Nairobi express has put accessibility measures in place!
When will the national construction authority take control of this sector?
Several research show that when you construct infrastructure in an inclusive manner it benefits all “ILO 2018 UNDP 2019 HI 2015 sight saver 2020[
What do we mean by accessible toilet?
An accessible toilet is designed to accommodate people with reduced mobility, the elderly as well as pregnant women.
Some of the most common features of an accessible toilet are its floor space, door dimensions, height, grab rails, signage and sink position. The door can open inwards if the cubicle is large enough, but it must also be capable of opening outwards. Toilet seats are positioned higher. This is because wheelchairs tend to be higher, and it’s important that the two seats are at level to make transferring as easy as possible.
It is also necessary for the flush to be positioned on the side, away from the wall so that people can reach the flush from a seated position. Grab rails are essential to help people maintain balance either when standing or when transferring between a wheelchair and the toilet. Fold-down rails are not only secure but also easy to raise and lower when sitting down.
Sinks in accessible bathrooms are positioned as close to the toilet as possible, and they are fitted at a height that allows a wheelchair user to position their legs beneath along with the mirror that can be viewed by people who are both standing and sitting.
When it comes to toilets in accessible washrooms, the bigger the better.
Next time you step into a washroom, take a look around and see if it is an accessible one – if it is, we are one small step towards a more inclusive society.
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The views expressed here are for the author and do not represent any agency or organization.
Mugambi Paul is a public policy, diversity, inclusion and sustainability expert.
Australian Chief Minister Award winner
“excellence of making inclusion happen”