COVID-19: The case for people living with disabilities
As the Coronavirus pandemic, aka COVID-19 rages on, a “Keep Them Safe Too” call has been made by the Empathy-Driven Women International Initiative, EDWIIN for people living with disabilities in Nigeria.
In a statement by the Group’s founder, Uri Ngozichukwuka and made available to The Difference, the group noted that though it has ‘only been a week for Nigerians, but the effect of the deadly Coronavirus emergency is about the only thing on anyone’s mind.’
Zeroing on the needs of PWDs, Ngozichukwuka affirmed that though this demonstration of concern was valid, it was quite imperative that it should be taken further.
‘Everyone is concerned about friends and relatives, as the government is trying to put in place, workable modalities to save the country from the clutches of the pandemic, but no one is talking about those who are *extra vulnerable getting sick*, the people with special need and disabilities.’
The EDWIIN founder explained that one way this challenge could immediately be addressed was through the donation of relief materials for persons with disabilities, PWDs, in the heat of the deadly coronavirus spread.
“When crisis strikes, people with disabilities face higher risks to their well-being and survival. The government is worried, the people are equally worried about the loss of income, careers, and businesses. We are afraid of what it will be like to “social distance” for months, rather than just a few days or weeks.’
In the midst of this situation, she reasoned: “How can we easily forget the high-risk group, who is considering the safety of the disabled people?”
“When pandemics break out when the earth begins to shake, people with disabilities often cannot flee on their own, and their families may not have the strength or means to assist them. “Terrifying dangers can await those who are left behind, including the risk of death.
“While we make provision for an emergency as government and as people, People with disabilities usually fall through the cracks during response efforts.
“Lagos has its fair share of 15% persons with disabilities. The country already has 85% of its population living below poverty lines.
“People living with disabilities make up a significant percentage of those statistics.
“This is why our PWDs-driven foundation, EDWIIN is calling on government and well-meaning Nigerians to stretch their hands of support and donate for these people. These are terrible times for the Dwarfs, the deaf, dumb, albinos, blind, and orphans whose livelihoods are equally knitted to the efficiency of the regular commerce,’ the EDWIIN founder maintained.
Underscoring the depth of the challenge, she noted that ‘in the wake of the world epidemic, these persons in the vulnerable target group stand a higher chance of starvation isolation and death before Covid 19 steps in.’
She particularly tasked state governments and manufacturing firms in the country to make donations of items like rice, beans, garri, spaghetti, tomatoes paste, noodles, tissue paper, sanitizers, bathing soaps and detergents, towels, masks, gloves, Vitamin C and Chloroquine.