By Blessing Oladunjoye

The Nigerian Centre for Disease Control, NCDC has been charged to develop a disability-disaggregated data for persons infected with COVID-19.

The call was made by The Chairman, Lagos State Chapter of the Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities, JONAPWD, Dr. Adebukola Adebayo while speaking on “Protection of PWDs During the Pandemic” on Women Radio, 91.7 FM.

The disaggregated data he said would help to ascertain the number of persons with disabilities that have been infected by the virus. Dr. Adebayo disclosed that PWDs are heavily dependent on human support and as a result more vulnerable to being infected by the virus. He explained that the figures of persons infected should not just be disaggregated by gender alone but based on disability too.

“Most persons with disabilities have underlying health issues and this make them more vulnerable and when they are not captured in medical data, it means interventions will not capture their needs”, he added.

The Lagos JONAPWD chair also noted that the disability disaggregated data will also help to understand the kind of COVID-19 interventions PWDs are able to access and it will help in the planning of operations, provision and equipping of isolation centres.

“Also, the guidelines that NCDC would be giving to curtail the spread of the virus will also be disability-sensitive.”

Reacting to a question on the claims that the National Safety Net Coordinating Office have supported PWDs during the pandemic by distributing palliatives, Dr. Adebayo noted that there was nothing of such.

“I followed up with Lagos State Ministry of Economic Planning and Budget and I was told they don’t have anything specifically for PWDs from the National Safety Office”, he explained.

“The social investment and social protection policy of the federal government are not adequately sensitive to persons with disabilities and we’ve always advocated that disability inclusion be mainstreamed into them.

“If that had been achieved before now, there won’t be issues about PWDs getting palliatives from the social safety net.

“About socio-economic palliative, the CBN has rolled out some schemes for small businesses to support them against the impact of COVID-19 but that particular program has no plans for PWDs beneficiaries. PWDs are worst hit because they can’t continue with their businesses and as such should be made to benefit from the CBN program for small businesses.”

Adebayo reiterated the need for inclusion of PWDs at the planning stage of public policies, programmes and activities instead of being an afterthought which might not serve the right purpose. “The lack of PWD representatives in all interventions by COVID-19 committees and task force is the main cause of all the lag.

There’s a need to ensure that disability inclusion is mainstreamed at the design, planning and implementation stage”, Adebayo added.

He stressed that the Lagos State Office for Disability Affairs, LASODA should ensure disability issues are at the forefront at all times.

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