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‘Disabled-friendly public toilets needed’

Kathmandu, November 24 :Speakers at an interaction organised in the capital expressed serious concern about the lack of disabled-friendly toilets in Kathmandu Valley, which is home to nearly four million people. Kathmandu has hardly 40 public toilets in operation and none of them are disabled-friendly. Laxmi Maharjan Devkota, chairperson at Nepal National Federation of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, laid emphasis on construction of disabled-friendly public toilets to address the special needs of persons with disabilities. “Being the national capital, Kathmandu is still awaiting disabled-friendly toilets. It is very worrisome,” she said.

 

Even the existing public toilets are in a mess for want of proper sanitation and cleanliness. “When the public toilets lack privacy and other amenities which are very necessary for women, mainly during their cycle, the problems facing the disabled are beyond one’s imagination,” she lamented. Speakers also stressed on installing red (stop) and green (proceed) light bell in public toilets for hard of hearing persons. Shikha Shrestha, programme manager at WaterAid Nepal, said Kathmandu Metropolitan City had failed to address the needs of city population despite spending Rs 20 million annually in the name of public toilets. She also informed that a disabled-friendly public toilet was under construction in the vicinity of Bhrikutimandap.

Iswori Chettri Regmi, a hard of hearing person, suggested, “It would be better if training is provided to the female population in rural areas about menstruation issues, basic sanitation and hygiene.” Kumar Regmi, also a hard of hearing person, shared, “There are many public toilets that have no sign to indicate the direction to the toilet and whether the toilet is for male or female. All hard of hearing people are not literate and they face difficulty identifying the correct toilet. The government needs to consider the issues of visually impaired and people who use wheelchair.”

Ayush Shakya, a student and hard of hearing person, said, “There are many schools without disabled friendly toilets. The school I studied in did not have disabled friendly toilet and it was difficult for me to use the toilet.”

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