The Mastercard Foundations Scholars Program at the University of Gondar is nearing the end of its second productive year and is doing its fair share to raise awareness for some of the pressing issues of today. One way of raising such awareness is by organizing and hosting informative events and UoG’s first ever Journal Club fits the fold. As part of the first Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program journal club, PhD candidate Mulugeta Bayisa discussed the fluidity of disability with a presentation entitled “Rethinking disability.” The Journal Club session took place on May 3, 2019 in Science Amba’s auditorium and brought together interested audience members from numerous fields as well as Mastercard Foundation Scholars.
Queens University, which has a long history of focusing on rehabilitation therapy, has taken in Mr. Mulugeta Bayisa who is one of UoG’s prospective Occupational Therapists. Mulugeta has studied in Kingston Canada for over a year and is now back at the University of Gondar undergoing his relevant research activities.
Facing disability issues head on can lead to a more reasonable understanding of what it means to be impaired and the connotations, which are associated with it. Ethiopia faces an uphill battle when it comes to clearing the air of stereotypes, stigmas and the overall culture that may hinder proper inclusion into many of societies’ real world manifestations.
Around 17 percent of the population in Ethiopia are labeled as people with disabilities. In his presentation, Mulugeta expressed on numerous occasions that the relationship between physical impairments, functional limitations and disability are neither fixed nor permanent. On the contrary, he believes disability should be understood as “a consortium of human function and capability.”
According to Mulugeta, “disability is a messy and challenging concept, and its definition often times portrays the permanence of this phenomenon. However,” he said, “there are arguments that disability is neither fixed nor permanent, rather a fluid concept.” With that being said, he concluded that the world needs to rethink “how to conceptualize and measure disability.”
Mulugeta Bayisa is a physiotherapist by profession and could be located in the department of Physiotherapy at the University of Gondar. With one Journal Club session rapped up the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program looks forward to organizing such events every month. Those who are interested to take part in or attended a Journal Club could stay tuned for announcements in the near future.
By Samuel Malede| Scholars Program Communications Coordinator