Prioritising digital accessibility, promoting sensitisation towards person with disabilities, extending the concept of inclusivity to include mental health and neurodiversity along with physical accessibility and raising awareness as well as data tracking are some of the key recommendations made by the healthcare management students of the Sanquelim-based Goa Institute of Management (GIM) and the Goa State Commission for Persons with Disabilities in their transformative accessibility audit of government departments in the state.
The objective of the accessibility audit was to understand workplace accessibility more comprehensively in the state’s government offices. The accessibility audit conducted by Healthcare Management students of GIM, as part of the B-School’s ‘GiveGoa Programme’, in collaboration with the Goa State Commission for Persons with Disabilities, also put the spotlight on already existing good practices on accessibility implemented by the government offices, such as vehicle access bridges, spaces earmarked to strategically place wheelchairs, among others.
The disability audit project was conceived by Goa State Commission for Persons with Disabilities, and was planned by its Commissioner, Guru Pawaskar, and mentored by Dr. Supriya Phadnis and Dr. Sreerupa Sengupta, Assistant Professors at GIM.
“Collaborating with the Goa State Commission for Persons with Disabilities on this transformative initiative has been an enriching experience for GIM. We believe that by fostering such collaborations, we can collectively pave the way for a world where inclusivity is not just an aspiration but a lived reality,” said Dr. Supriya Phadnis, Assistant Professor, GIM.
Through this project, students envision creating a robust impact in terms of enabling the Goa government to identify gaps in the system in order to design capacity-building programs for Persons With Disabilities (PWD) and plan interventions accordingly, she also said.
Some of the recommendations to the Goa government made by way of the audit include conducting audits at periodic intervals, prioritising digital accessibility, fostering an inclusive work culture, designing customised capacity building programs, reasonable accommodations and specialised mentorship programs for persons with disabilities for growth at work.
The audit also recommended extending inclusivity beyond physical accessibility and to address additional aspects like mental health and neurodiversity. Collaboration with disability organisations, tracking data, have also been advocated.
Dr. Aashita Agarwal, Dr. Anantha Venkat Raghava Gopidesi, Dr. Kripa Mehta, Pradipta Das and Dr. Shanu Singh, all students of the Healthcare Management program at GIM contributed to the audit with their diverse expertise and unwavering commitment enriching the project, bringing forth a comprehensive understanding of healthcare accessibility and inclusivity.