Help us by donating generously to our Corona Aid Fund and contributing to the survival of people with disabilities during these trying times.
You are hearing it every day in the news: thousands of dead in Italy, hundreds of thousands of people infected worldwide – the COVID-19 virus is spreading rapidly across the globe. It's not yet clear how devastating this virus will be on global health systems. Public life in Germany and other countries has come to a standstill.
The pandemic is also threatening our employees, projects and patients in developing countries. First eyewitness accounts are reaching us with worrying news.
The first confirmed cases are trickling in here, and public life is already very restricted. All schools and universities are closed and there is a ban on meetings. If this virus continues spreading aggressively, it is going to be very difficult to reach people seeking help in CBM projects. As it is, the lives of people with disabilities is a daily struggle under 'normal' circumstances, and now this global pandemic could further exacerbate their situation even more significantly.Dr. Karin Knoll, a CBM ophthalmologist in Moshi, Tanzania.
Our programme managers on the ground report that African countries are feverishly focused on preparing for the crisis: in many of our project countries, schools are being closed, barriers are being put up, freedom of movement of people is being restricted. Going on field assignments for eye work and providing for people in remote areas is becoming increasingly complicated for our staff.
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Our executive management is in constant contact with our colleagues on the ground. Our Regional Directors in Africa warn, among other things, of a dire food shortage and a drastic slump in medical care facilities, specifically for people with disabilities. To mitigate the far-reaching effects of the COVID-19 on our projects, CBM has set up a ‘Corona Aid Fund’. We expect to need additional funds for:
• Access to water and hygiene (e.g. soap, disinfectant etc.)
• Maintaining operations in our hospitals and health stations (e.g. training of personnel, face masks)
• Food distribution to people with disabilities and their families who would be at risk of starvation and death in the case of a strict curfew, because they cannot do groceries or stock up their pantries for 14 days.
It is well documented that people with disabilities are amongst the most vulnerable population in a pandemic, as they often may not be able to fully implement the required self-protection and hygiene or might end up in inappropriate health care environments. Today, people with disabilities are part of the high-risk group and have an increasing risk of contracting the COVID-19 virus. The poorest of the poor will suffer the most.