Latvia: Study by Ministry of Welfare Suggests only 8% of Buildings in Latvia are Accessible to Persons with Disabilities

Built Environment, Europe, April 21 2021

LATVIA: The study “Analysis of the Self-Assessment of Environment Accessibility in State and Local Government Institutions” compiled a self-assessment of a total of 2,249 buildings.

In 8% of the buildings, space is fully accessible, in 26% it is partially accessible and in 67% it is not accessible.

Most commonly accessibility is ensured in buildings of institutions and capital companies under the supervision of the Ministry of Health (36%), followed by local government health authorities (28%). The third highest accessibility indicator is for institutions and capital companies under the supervision of the Ministry of Culture (25%) and institutions under the supervision of the Ministry of Defense (25%).

At the same time, the study concludes that there is increasing awareness of the accessibility of environment for people with reduced mobility, while the accessibility of the environment for people with visual, hearing and mental impairment is rare.

A pronounced trend in institutions is the inadequacy of safety, evacuation routes for disabled people. Voice statements, light warnings, escape routes are not marked in a way that is understandable to all visitors, including those who may have difficulties with reading skills, not only disabled people but also children and people who speak different languages.

The Ministry noted that the aim of the study was to obtain information in order to increase the number of public services and public buildings in which the accessibility of the environment for all groups of society, including persons with disabilities, has been ensured.

The study uses a system of criteria developed by the Ministry, according to which the accessibility of the environment and information is classified at three levels: accessible, partially accessible or inaccessible. Accessibility of the environment and information has been assessed according to the criteria: unobstructed access to the building, the possibility of moving between floors, safety and the suitability of escape routes for people with disabilities, access to sanitary facilities, accessibility for people with visual, hearing and mental disabilities, explained LM.

The study was carried out on behalf of LM by Projektu un kvalitātes vadība Ltd from January 29 to March 31.

Originally Published on Public Broadcasting of Latvia

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