Dentist in Sumatra finds dream crushed because of disability

He said the Indonesian Dentist Association’s (PDGI) West Sumatra chapter had sent a letter and met the regent, explaining that being in a wheelchair wouldn't hamper Romi’s work as a dentist.
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SUMATRA - A number of activists in Padang, West Sumatra, protested on Tuesday the removal of a dentist from the civil servant candidate list because she has a disability.

Romi Syofpa Ismael, the dentist, had served as a contract dentist at a community health centre (Puskesmas) in Talunan in a remote area in South Solok regency, West Sumatra, since 2015.

After a year of serving, in July 2016 she began suffering from weak lower legs following a Caesarian section she underwent to deliver her second child. She returned to the service on a wheelchair after being treated for three months.

Last year, she applied to become a civil servant and proposed to fill the open post as a dentist at Talunan Puskesmas.

The NGOs said she passed the written test but she could not fulfil all the requirements for the physical examination due to her disability.

Icun Suheldi, the Padang chapter chairman of the Association of Indonesian People with Disability (PPID), said Romi received a letter signed by the South Solok regent on March 18, saying that because she could not meet all the requirements, the administration had not forwarded her application to the National Civil Service Agency.

"Her dream was cut short just because of her disability," Icun said.

Romi's attempt to become a civil servant was supported by activists from the PPDI, the Indonesian Women Coalition's West Sumatra chapter, women's organisation WCC Nurani Perempuan and the Padang Legal Aid Institute (LBH Padang).

The protesters, Icun said, urged the South Solok regency administration to honour the rights of disabled people and to prevent stigma and discrimination against them.

They wanted the administration to reinstate Romi's name on the candidate list.

He said the Indonesian Dentist Association's (PDGI) West Sumatra chapter had sent a letter and met the regent, explaining that being in a wheelchair wouldn't hamper Romi's work as a dentist.

"The state has an obligation to respect and protect Romi and to put people with a disability in an equal position to those without a disability," he said.

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