COVID-19 is a test of our commitment to a society that values all citizens equally

Times of crisis ask us who we are as a country. People suffer from much anxiety and pain during this time of crisis. The number of COVID-19 cases reached over 2900 yesterday in our country.
As regional governments are preparing for opening new hospital facilities and stockpiling medical resources, many people with disabilities are worried about the answer to that question.
A civilized society should put those most at risk from coronavirus at the top of the agenda not relegate them to an afterthought.
People with disabilities are entitled to life, human decency and the pursuit of happiness, just like all Myanmar people and the government and the people must fight together to protect these rights, especially during this time of crisis.
It is worth noting that the Rehabilitation Department under the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement is working, together with the COVID-19 Emergency Response Committee, to provide financial assistance to people with disabilities, due to hardships caused by the stay-at-home order, home quarantines and facility quarantines, and being infected with the coronavirus.
Under the COVID-19 Economic Relief Plan-CERP, K30,000 cash assistance would be provided to each of the 200,000 people with disabilities throughout the country.
As the financial assistance under the CERP is limited and allocated from the public budget, all governmental departments and organizations concerned with PWDs are obliged to cooperate with each other to ensure that the financial assistance effectively benefits the targeted populations.
The programme is managed in accordance with human rights and democratic norms to ensure that all can enjoy equal benefits, especially during the continuing COVID-19 crisis.
Unfortunately, previous efforts to provide relief and support to the people with disabilities during the COVID-19 crisis have not included some PWDs.
We would like to urge our regional authorities and PWDs organizations to do more to make sure our friends, relatives and neighbors with disabilities are not left behind.
Patients with disabilities may require more resources than the nondisabled. In a crisis, the nondisabled can be saved more efficiently.
Under the CERP, hotlines should be established for the people with disabilities to ensure that no one is left behind in this plan.
This pandemic is not just a test of our healthcare system. It is also a test of our commitment to being an inclusive society that equally values all citizens.

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