THE Enugu State government has been urged to improve on its strategies to protect People With Disabilities (PWDs) in the state from the dreaded COVID-19.
A non-governmental organization, the Centre for Citizens with Disability (CCD) made the plea through a COVID-19 survey report on PWDs in Enugu.
The organization’s Executive Director, David Anyaele explained that their suggestion was an actual reflection of their findings in the survey report, which was issued during a virtual press briefing.
The survey was themed, “Persons with Disabilities in Enugu State: A Rapid Assessment of the Effectiveness of Government COVID-19 Communication and Palliative Distribution Strategies.”
Anyaele called on the authorities of the state and local governments to design a concrete anti-COVID-19 plan specifically tailored to the special needs of persons with vulnerabilities in the state.
He said that such a strategy would limit the chance of a person with disability to be compelled to resort to desperate survivalist actions contrary to government’s all inclusive protocols to check the spread of the coronavirus.
The survey report further recommended that PWD-focused Information, Education and Communication (IEC) strategies should be strictly implemented to effectively communicate all aspects of the pandemic to the community of the PWDs to keep them abreast of new developments.
It recommended further: “The information should be delivered to them through Braille for the blind, sign language interpreters for the deaf and bold prints for the far sighted.
“It is advisable to identify and train the trainers among the PWDs and their organizations as well as support them with necessary logistics to step-down training to members of their community or clusters.
“There should be special provisions for the screening of PWDs for COVID-19 so that those infected could benefit from the free treatment by government.”
The Center also advised that the state and local governments should improve on their provision of palliatives to PWDs and their inclusion in the entire process of distribution.
“There should be improvement in the process of communicating to the beneficiaries by involving the local PWD leaders,” the report stated.