After a fatal fall in 1994 in his Sri Lankan village, Medtage Ralalage Manjula Timuth became dependent on a wheelchair. His locomotor disability was subjected to unwanted badgering from his community, and his problems increased because he could not find the right wheelchair.
As many as 19 years later, Timuth, a wheelchair technician, is a happy man with two children. “I finally found the right wheelchair and I have overcome the taunts,” he said in Sinhalese, which was translated by his friend Vijitha. Timuth was among 25 rehabilitation professionals from Bangladesh, Bhutan, Indonesia, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand and India who participated in a week-long workshop on wheelchair training, organised by Mobility India.
It was the first south east regional workshop sponsored by the World Health Organisation, which laid down guidelines on wheelchair delivery.
The 25 participants underwent meticulous training by five WHO-certified trainers on how to deliver wheelchairs to the disabled. “About 95 percent of the wheelchairs in hospitals are not really fit for disabled. When the disabled approach us, we assess their disability before giving them a wheelchair,” Soikat said.