Cases of Corona virus are now being detected in some of the poorest countries in the world, specifically across the African continent.
It is well documented that people with disabilities are amongst the most vulnerable population in a pandemic. In the current context, many people with disabilities have an increased risk of contracting COVID-19 and may have more difficulty in acting social distancing or self-isolation. In addition, many people with disabilities have an increased risk of developing a severe case due to underlying health conditions and they experience barriers in accessing appropriate health care and support once they have contracted COVID-19.
We are working closely with partners on the field around the world to be able to continue delivering our projects in the most effective and safest possible way during this pandemic. Right now, it is the vulnerable in society that are most at risk, and we are working even harder to ensure people with disabilities are able to enjoy their human rights.CBM CEO Dr. Rainer Brockhaus
CBM and our partners across the world have already hit the ground running.
Some inspiring examples:
- In India, when the Indian government announced a 21-day lockdown for its 1.3 billion citizens, it triggered a huge humanitarian crisis with hundreds of thousands of workers returning to their villages across India, on foot, after public transport was stopped. This included people with disabilities, the elderly, pregnant women and children walking hundreds of kilometers. Over 80% of India’s workers are in the informal sector and do not get salaries, and the lockdown resulted in loss of livelihoods and ability to pay rents and buy food. CBM India and its partners responded immediately, by providing aid for people with disabilities, the elderly and other vulnerable groups. The response includes dry rations, cooked food, water, sanitation kits and personal protective equipment for health institutions.
- In Zimbabwe, CBM is increasing inclusion and resilience of girls with disabilities and their families by providing inclusive and accessible material such as public health messages, conducting trainings for psychological first aid, and providing inclusive hygiene facilities.
- In Nigeria, in collaboration with national disabled people’s organisations and media organisations, CBM is providing sign-language interpretation, thus ensuring that people with hearing impairment can also access vital health messages and updates.
- In Sri Lanka, we are providing counselling services via phone to individuals who are isolated and distressed. We are also providing district hospitals with personal protective equipment, as well as dried rations to poor families.
- In Tanzania, we have launched a media awareness campaign for an inclusive COVID-19 emergency response. A national radio interview on the inclusion of people with disabilities in this emergency response has already aired, reaching millions of people. This media campaign will continue running on the national radio channel as well as on television and also includes accessible print materials.
Access our Guidance Notes
To support CBM’s Community-Based Inclusive Development partners, a “Disability Inclusive Community Action – COVID-19 Matrix” has been developed to provide community programmes guidance on possible action points in community development and mobilization in relation to COVID-19 preparedness and response.
Similarly, a guidance note for COVID-19 has been developed to support our eye health partners and communities they serve, in their efforts to combat this global health crisis.