As the novel Coronavirus continues to cause devastating effects across the globe, the Federal Government of Nigeria have been urged to include a Disability Response Team as part of the Covid-19 Task Force.
Chairperson and CEO of Network of Disabled Women, Lois Auta made the call when she spoke on a programme, ‘Nigeria Today’ on the devastating impact of the pandemic on the lives of Persons with Disabilities (PWDs).
She spoke alongside the Founder and CEO of The Albino Foundation (TAF), Dr Jake Epelle and anchor of the programme, Victor Azu.
In a statement made available to INN, Auta who spoke on the devastating impacts on PWDs, said that these set of persons are the most prone and vulnerable group.
She said the group are the most excluded, most stigmatised, most marginalised most poorest and most discriminated to a virus that has caused over 53,000 deaths across the world.
“The more than 20 million persons with disabilities in Nigeria are much more prone and vulnerable to the devastating impacts of COVID-19 than others. They are three times at higher risk on the illness than every other person.”
“No access to healthcare facilities and no budgets for the healthy lives of the Persons with Disabilities in the country.”
On how Persons with Disabilities can be protected against the virus, she listed some recommendations that could be implemented to protect them against the pandemic.
She urged the Federal Government to immediately set up a Disability Response Team or let them be part of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19.
She also charged the FG to set up funds to cater for the needs and emergency treatment of victims with disabilities, which includes provision of protective equipment for PWDs.
Auta also made a case for awareness, prevention programs, while calling for all isolation and medical centres to be disability compliant.
Besides, she said all adverts, announcements, news bulletin and updates on Corona Virus should be inclusive and accessible to PWDs, while a food bank should be set up for the vulnerable groups.
She also encouraged National Assembly members to utilise their constituency funds and provide protective measures for their constituents.
“I hope and believe that these suggestions will be given attention, to enable more support for citizens with disabilities,” she said.
Auta said she also represented the physically challenged cluster by speaking on the recommendations on the programme, “Against All Odds” with Doshima Pius, (the anchor), Obinna Ekujereonye, who represented the blind community and Dr. Chritopher Otabor, a medical practitioner.