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COVID-19: Sick, people with disabilities disadvantaged

By Gerald Tenywa

Added 22nd April 2020 09:10 AM

According to the Chairperson of the Equal Opportunities Commission of Uganda, the presidential directives have left out most of the people with disabilities.

COVID-19: Sick, people with disabilities disadvantaged

Jonan Opori Sign Language Interpreter and Slyvia Nabatanzi Muwebwa, the Chairperson of Equal Opportunites Commission addressing Journalists at the Uganda Media Centre in Kampala on April 20, 2020.(Photo by Abou Kisige)

According to the Chairperson of the Equal Opportunities Commission of Uganda, the presidential directives have left out most of the people with disabilities.

HEALTH  VIRUS

KAMPALA - The true measure of any society can be found in how it treats its most vulnerable members, so goes a saying in social work. 

According to the Chairperson of the Equal Opportunities Commission of Uganda, Muwebwa Ntambi, the government has done well in putting in place measures that protect citizens from the Coronavirus which is also known as COVID-19. 

However, she pointed out that the presidential directives have left out most of the people with disabilities and the sick. 

"We appreciate the government for taking measures to protect the population to stop the spread of COVID-19," she said, adding that there are concerns about the vulnerable people particularly the ones with disabilities. 

Ntambi expressed her concerns on Monday at the Media Center in Kampala during a press conference to speak about Equal Opportunities in the face of the control measures put in place to control and prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

 onan pori a ign anguage nterpreter with amina alole a member of the qual pportunites ommission addressing ournalists at the ganda edia entre in ampala on pril 20 2020 hoto by bou isige Jonan Opori a Sign Language Interpreter with Zamina Malole, a member of the Equal Opportunites Commission addressing Journalists at the Uganda Media Centre in Kampala on April 20, 2020. (Photo by Abou Kisige)

 
She said, during this period, people suffering from diseases like Sickle cells, cancer, HIV, diabetes and hypertension have inequitable access to medical drugs, health professionals and health facilities to attend to them.

 "The patients lack transport means to health facilities," said Ntambi, adding that they cannot access the specialists they need to attend to them and hence there is a gap that has been created in their treatment. 

She added, "As we control the spread of COVID-19, these groups should be taken care of and provided with equitable services." 

Ntambi said medical documents of these people should serve as movement passes that enable them to access facilities for treatment.  

She also said the Ministry of Gender was left out of the national COVID-19 task force yet they fully understand the structures of the people with disabilities. 

In addition, the Chairperson of the Equal Opportunities Commission said the fight against COVID-19 did not take away the laws that curtail discrimination. She said the laws include the Constitution of Uganda and the Equal Opportunities Act.

President Yoweri Museveni declared a partial lockdown last month and also restricted movement of public and private vehicles on which people with disabilities were relying for movement. This was done in a series of directives communicated in 11 different State of the nation addresses to control the spread and prevent of COVID-19 into the population. 

Zamina Malole, a member of the Equal Opportunities Commission said the people with disabilities are known up to village and parish level.

However, Malole observed that access to health services by people with disabilities is minimal. 

Stigmatization

Ntambi appealed to the public to stop discrimination of the people who have suffered from COVID-19. "The community should receive patients who have been battling the virus and recovered as their own," she said. 

"We are going to mobilise to ensure that there are equitable opportunities," she said.

 

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