Smooth wheelchair distribution system to benefit needy
COLOMBO: The Social Services and Social Welfare Ministry together
with `Motivation’ and several other organisations have adopted an
appropriate approach to wheelchair distribution which is beneficial to
the user and will, in the long-term lead to a better quality of life.
Sri Lanka currently has over 20 wheelchair manufacturers, Social
Services and Social Welfare Ministry Secretary Vijayalakshmi
She said research has shown that most of the donated wheelchairs are
imported and donated wheelchairs last between 6-12 months as the wear
and tear of these chairs are not conducive to the local environment.
The new approach will require wheelchair manufacturers to test and
obtain certification of their products from the National Engineering and
Research Department which is equipped with testing facilities. The
quality of wheelchairs will be assessed for durability, strength and
Although the most important element in this provision process is the
need to assess the condition of patients in order to prescribe the best
device for them and once fitted to train these individuals’ basic usage
skills and other psychological counselling.
Currently wheelchair services are set up at the Southern Centre for
Disabled in Galle, Jaffna Jaipur Centre for the Rehabilitation of the
Disabled in Jaffna, the Centre for Handicapped in Digana, Kandy, the
Ragama Rehabilitation Hospital in Ragama and Navajeevana in Tangalle.
For supportive seating devices are available at MENCAFEP in Baticaloa
and Nuwara Eliya, Navajeevana, Ragama Hospital. Further information
available with Motivation and can be contacted on 011-5378230-3, she
“If an organisation or an individual wishes to donate wheelchairs it
is recommended that they approach one of the local wheelchair service
providers or Motivation who have set up wheelchair funds for
beneficiaries who cannot afford a wheelchair,” she added.
The ministry is actively involved in the drawing up of wheelchair
provision standards and guidelines which will ensure that wheelchair
users will be provided with the most appropriate products of the best
The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that nearly 10 per cent
of the Sri Lankan population is disabled. It is also estimated that
45,000 people require a wheelchair.