People with disabilities must not be left in response to COVID-19 crisis

gnlm opinion

According to the World Health Organization, people with disabilities-PWDs are at high-risk of infection due to their physical, mental and cognitive impediments. Quarantining, social distancing and working from home are almost impossible due to their everyday dependence on caregivers.
We must do more to make sure our people with disabilities are not left behind in response to the COVID-19 crisis.
It should be noted by the people that the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement has adopted and implemented a plan taking into account the needs of the PWDs in its emergency response to the COVID-19. It also includes cash assistance programme for the WPDs.
Another welcome step taken by the ministry is that it has carried out a rapid assessment of the needs of the WPS in the face of the COVID-19 disease. Local authorities and ministries concerned are urged to continue their cooperation in efforts to effectively implement the project.
Under the project, the ministry has made information about COVID-19 accessible-through graphics and sign language interpretations. We should keep the awareness about COVID-19 on this trajectory to ensure that any information of COVID-19 is not out of reach of WPDs.
Efforts to provide relief and sup¬port to PWDs during the COVID-19 crisis must include the needs of people with dis¬abilities.
The needs of our people with disabilities are the same as the needs of all of us all over the country – the immediate ramping up of production of personal pro-tective equipment, like ven¬tilators and face masks, not only for hospitals, but also for home-based providers of care for people with dis¬abilities.
People with disabilities are especially vulnerable if we lack proper protective equipment during this time of COVID-19 crisis.
Besides, most markets, Covid-19 testing and quarantine centres should be disable-friendly, as PWDs are at high-risk.
People with disabili¬ties are entitled to life, human decency and the pursuit of happi¬ness, just like all Myanmar people – and the government and the people must fight together to protect these rights, especially during this time of crisis.
According to the experiences we gained in the past, we do believe that we can overcome any challenges together with the people.

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