Covid-19 lockdown is taking too much of people with disabilities in Pakistan: NDF
Hyderabad- 9 April 2020: The National Disability and Development Forum (NDF) lamented that if Covid19 lockdown persisted in the country two more weeks, it would severely affect estimated 27 million people with disabilities (PWDs) who are the most marginalized, deprived and vulnerable section in the country.
The NDF said that the federal and provincial governments did not have inclusive emergency response policy and mechanism in the current lockdown situation. Thus, PWDs especially people with down syndrome, are entirely ignored and under-representative. The NDF said the federal and provincial governments had announced measures to address the deteriorating conditions in the country. Still, these did not mention a single world to support PWDs who are the most vulnerable as compared to any other marginalized group in the country. These people are entirely depended on other people for every matter in their routine lives and this current situation.
The NDF said among persons with disabilities, various categories of people, especially children, require special attention, treatment, trainings and gears to live just normal life. The NDF added that the vast majority of people having an issue with their hearing, they could not wear the mask because they need to read and understand the movement of lips. Therefore, in the country, there are no any measures, training and useful material support to help these people. also, many people without upper limbs cannot wash their hands and body parts and they cannot wear protective masks. They are facing the most challenging time in their lives. The NDF said that the governments have transferred their ration and funds transfer responsibilities to non-government organizations, which did not have resources to reach and support every PWD. The NDF said that from across the country PWDs have called the NDF office and complained about no support extended by the governments and local authorities. The NDF said that governments should consult and engage those organizations which directly involved with PWDs for extending support to such people. These should revise their emergency and response plans to include PWD and protect the rights of such people. The NDF said that it did not have resources to help needy PWDs, but it had tried to help some of them with the help of NGOs like Hashoo Foundation, but such supports need to be more extensive to protect persons with disabilities in risk and threat that are emanating from the current situation.