Recommended Reading for November 29, 2010

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AllAfrica: Nigeria: 2011 Elections – A Case for Persons With Disabilities

Victor Oloche, 52, has never voted in his life. The reader could hurriedly pass him off as an unpatriotic Nigerian or at worse, an illiterate, perhaps unenlightened person or maybe a miscreant who does not know the importance of exercising his electoral and political rights. Wrong! He has formal education; he has no criminal record. There is just one problem. Victor had his two hands amputated when he was 12 after a freak domestic accident. Waving his severed limbs, Oloche tells the reporter, “I can’t vote because I don’t have any thumb with which to thumbprint ballot papers”. Oloche is a mere statistic among the estimated 20 million Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) in Nigeria automatically disenfranchised by virtue of their disability. The number of PWDs of voting age among this group cannot be verified.

Chicago Tribune: Policing disabled parking

As holiday shoppers flock to the malls this weekend, state law enforcement will crack down on those who illegally park in spots designated for people with disabilities. Beginning Friday, the Illinois secretary of state police, a division of the secretary of state’s office, will target parking lots at Chicago-area malls in Woodfield, Oak Brook, Orland Park and downstate in Bloomington, Carbondale, Fairview Heights and Springfield. The fine for illegally parking in spots designated for the disabled is as much as $350. The fine for those without disabilities caught displaying disability-marked license plates or placards can be as much as $500. Violators could also see their licenses suspended for 30 days.

Sify: Disabled to march in Delhi for rights

Some will be on their wheelchairs, others will be led by their friends or supported by their crutches. On Dec 3 nearly 5,000 disabled people are expected to march in the capital in support of their right to better facilities including a separate ministry for the community. Javed Abidi, chairperson of the National Centre for Promotion of Employment of Disabled People (NCPEDP) said: ‘We have been demanding for a separate ministry for the disabled population for long now. The issue of disability is a part of the social justice and empowerment ministry at the moment but is hardly on the radar of the minister’.

Radio New Zealand News: Woman held in secure facility without legal authority

The Deputy Health and Disability Commissioner says it’s a tragedy that a woman kept in a secure rest home without legal authority for more than a year didn’t live to see her rights recognised. In findings released on Tuesday, Rae Lamb says the Auckland woman, who has since died, was kept in the facility against her wishes. Ms Lamb says the woman, who had complex problems, was discharged from Auckland City Hospital into the Oak Park Dementia secure unit in 2007. But a breakdown in DHB processes meant legal authority wasn’t obtained. The 43-year-old woman asked repeatedly to leave and was backed in this by a doctor and some others.

Houston Chronicle: Mental health care in schools at crossroads

Early intervention and easy access to care are critical in keeping mentally ill youths in school and out of jail, mental health advocates say. Yet only a handful of Houston-area schools offer mental health services. “The good news is that we have some treatment and models of services that work,” said Dr. Bill Schnapp, director of community psychiatry at the University of Texas-Houston Medical School. “The bad news is that we don’t have them uniformly available for our children. If you put services in schools, a lot of kids get a lot more help.”

California Healthline: Supreme Court to Hear Case on Prison Health Care in California

On Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear California’s appeal of a court order that called for the state to reduce its inmate population by 40,000 to ease overcrowding and improve prison health care conditions, the Los Angeles Times reports (Savage/Williams, Los Angeles Times, 11/29). Last year, a federal three-judge panel ruled that inadequate medical and mental health care in California’s 33 prisons amounted to “cruel and unusual punishment” under the Eighth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution (Mintz, San Jose Mercury News, 11/28). On average, one California inmate dies from inadequate health care every eight days, the Times reports (Los Angeles Times, 11/29). According to the three-judge panel, prison overcrowding is the root cause of inadequate care.

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