By Sukuoluhle Ndlovu
Masvingo – The Institute for Community Development in Zimbabwe(ICOD Zim) is working with rural and urban councils towards achieving a disability inclusive Covid -19 response.
People with disabilities have often been overlooked in the Covid-19 pandemic despite the myriad of challenges they are faced with.
In a virtual meeting on the provincial Covid-19 conference, ICOD Zim said there is need to to come up with solutions to address the problems faced by people with disabilities.
The Masvingo City Council came up with a Disability and Gender – inclusive response to Covid -19 in a bid to come up with solutions to issues affecting people with disabilities.
In a presentation City Council Public Relations officer, Ashleigh Jinjika said information had been availed in formats that people with disabilities understand.
“Resource mobilisation was a challenge as there was no disaster management plan in place before the pandemic. Masvingo has no information kiosks and there was no provision for braille for those with visual impairment and no sign language interpreter to help those with hearing and talking difficulties.
“The hand washing devices were not user friendly and water was not accessible because of the type of water taps that are used in the district. There is no disaggregated data which explains severity of disability in each ward and the quarantine centre is not user friendly and this is a greater risk of discrimination in accessing healthcare during Covid -19 outbreak. It was discovered that there was no engagement of women and girls living with disabilities on Covid -19 awareness programme,” she stated.
Talent Maposa the Founding Director at ICOD Zim said while they appreciated the progress made so far more could be done.
“We appreciate the efforts that are being done to include the disabled together with Great Zimbabwe University. All we want is progress, all recommendations should be implemented. We are happy that councils are helping and are aware there are issues that should be dealt with to make sure women with disabilities are included in the mainstream.
“Women with disabilities need to be advocated for and women voices must be amplified. This is the beginning of a great innovative towards resilience and need to work against disasters. There is need to mobilize more resources to have a framework which will help our councils to work out and work on challenges being raised,” she said.